Editor’s Note: Once called “the man who epitomized style on horseback, William C. Steinkraus was the first United States rider ever to win an Olympic individual gold medal (Mexico City, 1968). A U.S. Equestrian Team member from 1951 through 1972, he competed in six Olympics. Following are excerpts from his remarks at today’s Westport bridge dedication honoring his sister, Ruth Steinkraus Cohen.
By William C. Steinkraus
Given her interest in the United Nations from its very inception, it was the most natural thing in the world for Ruth to think of somehow getting Westport involved in the U.N. and getting the U.N. involved in Westport.
William Steinkraus tells today’s Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Bridge dedication ceremony his sister would have cherished the honor Westport and the state bestowed upon her. WestportNow.com photo
This eventually occurred through the medium of the International Hospitality Committee of Fairfield County, an element of the United Nations Association of the USA and Westport’s own jUNe day and other special occasions.
Ruth was an initiator and driving force behind these activities and many others, enlisting the help of an army of dedicated volunteers, and in the past four decades, more than 50,000 U.N. diplomats, staff and State Department personnel have visited Westport for one or another of the Hospitality Committee’s special events.
Ruth would have been thrilled but not surprised that jUNe day and the rest of the committee’s activities are still continuing after her death, for they have surely meant too much to too many for them to be suspended.