Middlesex United Way set to roast Middletown-area philanthropist Harry Eben Burr

MIDDLETOWN — Harry Eben Burr is a man who has touched many lives in his 50 years of business and community service, and this year we are taking a morning to let him know how much that means to us. We will be hosting our annual Middlesex United Way Roast, and this year’s guest of honor is certainly deserving.

We are so grateful to Harry Burr for being the honoree of our seventh annual Middlesex United Way Roast. Burr is a longtime supporter, volunteer and friend of United Way. In 1999, he had already served the community through the Middlesex United Way for almost three decades, beginning in 1973, when he first volunteered for the campaign as a commercial division solicitor. Burr has continued to work on United Ways’ annual fundraising campaign for more than three decades, focusing his efforts on corporate giving and major individual gifts.

He first served as campaign chair in 1999, and three more times since, most recently in 2011. Burr was elected to United Way Board of Directors in 1977, and his service on the board has continued, and he now serves as an honorary director.

He has remained active in growing the Middlesex United Way Tocqueville Society, which recognizes philanthropic leaders who contribute $10,000 or more annually. He is a member of our Red Feathers Society, an esteemed group of people who plan to make a legacy gift to Middlesex United Way, thereby addressing issues that will face Middlesex County in future generations. 

Burr aides our fundraising efforts as major gifts director. It is clear that he is committed to Middlesex United Way and committed to the betterment of our community.

Not only does Burr serve Middlesex United Way, but he is continually giving back to all of Middlesex County. He serves on the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Executive Committee, the Middlesex YMCA Development Committee, and the Rushford Foundation Board. Burr also chairs the chamber’s Prevention Committee. 

He is a corporator of Middlesex Hospital and a trustee of the Charles Munson Burr Jr. Scholarship Fund for the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. He has previously served as board member at St. Vincent de Paul Middletown, Rushford, and the Middlesex YMCA.

Along with celebrating his philanthropy, we will be celebrating Harry’s professional accomplishments and successes. 

Burr began working for his family’s insurance business in 1968, and, 50 years later, continues to work in this field, serving as chairman emeritus of the board for McCutcheon Burr & Sons, a branch of Brown & Brown of Connecticut. Along with his work in the insurance industry, he has worked as a lecturer at Dean College School of Business Administration. Burr is also a proud veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve.

The roasts are always a riot of a time, and it is all in the name of philanthropy. Burr will be roasted by his four children, Jon, Colin, Meghann, and Matthew, as well as colleague Dave Vandal and longtime friend, Patti Anne Vassia. So please bring your best memories, stories (the more embarrassing, the better) and bow ties, and help us celebrate Harry with a laugh to honor his years of service to our community.

Many thanks to our presenting sponsors: A&A Office System, Inc., Diversified Group Brokerage Corp. and Middlesex Hospital for sponsoring this event. Additional thank yous are due to our anniversary sponsors: Adelbrook Inc., Connecticut Lighting Center, Inc. and Liberty Bank.

The roast will be held Oct. 24 at the Middletown Elks Club. Cocktail hour begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets, $75 are available at middlesexunitedway.org/RSVP or by calling 860-346-8695. Each includes hors d’oeuvres and dinner. A cash bar will be available.

Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middletown-based Middlesex United Way.