Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center in New Milford has announced the winners of its first annual senior photography contest.

The theme was fall foliage.

More than 60 images were submitted from seniors age 65 and older living in Litchfield and Fairfield counties.

“The objective of the contest was simply to urge seniors to venture out (safely) into nature, whether it be to their own backyards or to take a drive into the country, to take their minds and their spirits off the pandemic for a bit,” said Melissa Marici, director of community outreach at CVHR.

The winners are Donald Turner of New Milford (first place, $300 gift card), Hallie Kerrigan of Bethel (second place, $200 gift card), Margaret MacGrady of Brookfield and William Vibbert of Danbury (tied for third place, $100 gift card) and Jean Kavaneck of Bridgewater (honorable mention).

“I pass the spot of the winning photograph during my daily routine in southern New Milford along Housatonic Avenue,” said Turner. “It’s especially pretty in November when the leaves turn colors in the fall. On the particular day I took the photo I submitted, I was compelled to pull my car over and walk down to the river’s edge. The scene was incredible.”

The second-place winner said she loves taking photographs.

“My daughter-in-law came across the contest and when she shared it with me I started snapping away,” Kerrigan said. “The photos I submitted came from Ireland, Lake Harmony, Pa., and right here in Bethel. I think the concept for the contest was a good idea, and the timing, in the middle of COVID was good too. I am planning to participate in the next contest.”

Third place winner Margaret MacGrady said, “The photo I took, of the Kent Falls Bridge, practically took itself. It was made to be a picture and with the change of seasons it was made for this contest.”

The judging for the contest was done in three phases: preliminary round, semi-finalists and finalists.

The center’s management staff conducted the preliminary round bringing the number of photographs down from 60 to 30, followed by a group of local artists who narrowed it down to the top 10.

The last phase we left up to professional photographers, Marici said.

All photos have been featured on the “Senior Foliage Photo” Facebook page and the first-place photograph was featured on the Town Appeal’s newsletter this month, run by Monica Pondiccio of Brookfield.

A winter photo contest is planned based on the theme “Snow.”

Marici said a “Seniors in the Arts Soiree” event is on the horizon once it is safe for such an event.

For more information, call 860-355-0971, ext. 11 or email


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