When Ruth Freymann was the executive director of the Bridge in West Hartford from 1975 - 80, the nonprofit was at a crossroads, according to former president George Hastings.
But Freymann, the first female director of the Bridge, moved it forward through hard work and determination, Hastings said.
Indeed, during her tenure, the Bridge opened a youth shelter, originally known as Junction 1019, in 1978.
"The town fought her; she had a hard time getting this house [located at 1019 Farmington Ave.]," said Judy Bierly, director of community services of the Bridge. "It was a tough time when she thought that we needed a shelter."
The name of the shelter, which houses up to 9 girls for 45 to 60-day stints, was later changed to the Bridge Youth Shelter.
In honor of her service, the Bridge Youth Shelter was renamed Freymann House at a moving and emotional ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.
"We are sitting here because of your courage and because you never took 'no' for an answer," current Executive Director Margaret Hann said to Freymann. "Thousands of children have come through those doors because of you."
Freymann, who was accompanied by her husband, one of her daughters and a granddaughter, was deeply appreciative of the recognition.
"Thank you all from the bottom of my heart," she said.
The Bridge offers a broad range of services to children, youth, and families in the Greater Hartford area, with particular attention to serving those at risk, according to a press release.