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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

‘Person of the Year’ Honored at Gala

Maureen Rose Kirby-Cappuccino is Norfolk’s 2024 Person of the Year.

By Grace Allen
A Norfolk woman was honored last month as the 2024 Person of the Year by the Norfolk Community League. Maureen Rose Kirby-Cappuccino was recognized during NCL’s gala celebration, held on Saturday, March 9 at Lake Pearl Luciano’s in Wrentham.
Cappuccino was feted for her extensive volunteer work not only in Norfolk, but also in numerous communities around the state. 


Locals might know Cappuccino as the house administrator of Gilly’s House, a residential sober home for young men transitioning back to society after treatment. She’s a relentless advocate for the Wrentham non-profit, inspiring people to provide meals, donations, and other sundries to keep the house running smoothly.
But she’s also been a volunteer in many other organizations, including King Philip Music, Norfolk Baseball, Norfolk Soccer, and the Norfolk Teacher Parent Association. In addition, you’ll find Cappuccino collecting donations for shelters and churches, like Bethany House Ministries in Millis, St. Basil’s in Methuen, and Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence. She’s active in St. Jude Catholic Church in Norfolk, too.

NCL ‘Person of the Year’ nominees, from left, Karen Reilly, Kendra Bixby, and Maureen Cappuccino. The organization says this year it received a record number of votes for the women, a testament to their impact and in appreciation for their volunteer efforts.


As if that wasn’t enough, Cappuccino is part of a group dubbed the “God Squad,” friends that organize and distribute thrice-weekly donations from Wegman’s, Costco, and the Walpole Food Pantry to people in need. The group came together in 2022, when Maureen was battling breast cancer and needed help handing out the donations.
When asked what motivates her, Cappuccino answered, “JOY--Jesus, others, yourself. It’s all about God, not me. We’re supposed to answer the call to help others. We are supposed to come last.”
The consensus among the many people who nominated Cappuccino for the award was summed up by one person’s statement: “She is always thinking of how to help others. There is no one more deserving of this award than Maureen.”
Cappuccino credits her parents for exemplifying a life of service to others. Bob and Dot Kirby ran the Clonmel Arms Restaurant on Dedham St. (Rt. 1A) in Norfolk (now the location of Printmaster). Among the patrons were corrections officers from the area’s prisons. In 1972, two of the officers were slain during a violent night at the state prison in Norfolk, so Bob and Dot organized a fundraiser for the officers’ widows. Maureen says that’s when she first became cognizant of her parents’ good works in the community and was inspired to start a fundraiser herself for the widows, with the help of friends.
“My parents were faith-filled and showed me what it was like to reach out to others,” said Cappuccino. “It starts at home.”
Cappuccino acknowledges her discomfort with being nominated for and eventually winning the award, believing in the Christian injunction delivered by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
“This award, the gala, was very overwhelming for me and I was quite anxious about it,” admitted Cappuccino. “I don’t want recognition. But then I realized maybe God was using this as a way to inspire others and I decided I was going to use it for His glory. If I could get one other person in the audience to say, ‘Wow, what am I doing? I’ve got all the clothes I need in the closet, I have two cars in my garage, I have 2.5 kids…’ then maybe this is what the award can do.”
She also says social media is both a blessing and a curse but she uses it to promote her causes and ask for donations. It enables her to reach out to many more people than would otherwise be possible.
At the NCL gala, Cappuccino concluded her acceptance speech by appealing to the attendees to become “cheerful givers,” as noted in one of her favorite biblical scriptures.
“Remember, it’s not the quantity of your service to others, but the quality,” she said. “One simple act of kindness has the same ripple effect as an unkind one. We all have been given the gift of free will. We can look the other way when we see others struggling, or we can do something about it.”
This is the fifth time the Norfolk Community League has selected a Person of the Year. The person of the year is nominated by residents and then the NCL board chooses 3 or 4 candidates for residents to vote on. This year’s candidates were Cappuccino, Karen Reilly, and Kendra Bixby. 
The Norfolk Community League was formed in 1974 as NOVA (Norfolk Organization for Various Activities). The organization’s goal is to enhance the quality of life for Norfolk residents while supporting charitable activities and strengthening community spirit. All monies raised through NCL activities and fundraisers are dispersed to various area groups through its grant program. One of its biggest fundraisers is the NCL gala, held once every 18 months, which honors a Person of the Year. 
For more information about NCL, visit