Tomorrow, Westport’s focus will be on Staples’ seniors. Thousands of Westporters will gather in the fieldhouse, watching them graduate and move on with their lives.
On Imperial Avenue, meanwhile, a much smaller crowd will focus on another group of seniors: senior citizens. The Commission for Senior Services holds its annual meeting; the highlight will be an award (approximately 11 a.m.) to Paula Leonard.
She’ll receive the town’s “Service to Older Adults Award,” and lord knows she’s earned it. A long-time Westporter (and Staples graduate) with a thriving real estate career, Paula has spent decades volunteering for the town.
As chair of the Senior Services Commission, she was in at the Senior Center’s birth. As a Building Committee member, she helped oversee construction of the magnificient Imperial Avenue facility. She was a founder of the Friends of the Center for Senior Activities, and continues to be closely involved with its dynamic programs.
Paula spearheaded development of The Saugatuck, making moderate income housing available for older residents. More recently, she served on the Joint Committee on Senior/Workforce Housing.
She helped create the 1st tax deferral program for seniors in the state; worked with the United Way to develop the annual Aging Successfully Forum, and has been involved with the Westport WarmUp Committee since its inception in 1992.
“She’s a good lady,” says Stan Nayer, current chair of the Commission for Senior Services.
“She takes on any volunteer assignment with enthusiasm, genuine caring and a warm smile,” adds Sue Pfister, Senior Center director. “She’s a delight to work with. She’s good people.”
Paula Leonard’s ceremony tomorrow won’t be as well-attended as the seniors’ graduation at Staples. There won’t be a lot of pomp and circumstance — anyway, that’s not Paula’s style.
But her life of community service is something every Staples alum would do well to emulate.