It’s not easy telling an 89-year-old something he doesn’t already know.
But Allen Raymond was genuinely surprised yesterday afternoon. The Westport Y told the former board president it’s renaming the entry road to Mahackeno — the future site of the Y itself — “Allen Raymond Lane.”
The announcement — and presentation of an actual road sign — came at a party celebrating the trustee emeritus’ 89th birthday.
Celebrants noted that the year 1923 marked 2 very special events: the opening of the Y in downtown Westport, and the birth of Allen Raymond.
“For the past 88 years, these 2 ‘local institutions’ have remained steadfast in their commitment and dedication to our community and its residents,” Y officials said. “Allen truly embodies the heart and soul of Westport and the Family Y.”
The Y is only one of Raymond’s many civic commitments. In the 1950s he was instrumental in the town’s purchase of Longshore, and development as a town park. He’s devoted countless
hours months years serving the Library, Westport Historical Society and Earthplace, among many other organizations.
But it was the Y that honored him yesterday.
Rob Reeves — who also knows Raymond through the Green’s Farms Congregational Church and Rotary — credits him with “getting me up to speed quickly” when Reeves took over as the Y’s CEO.
“Allen told me a lot about the history of Westport, and the Y,” Reeves says. “He brought me around, and introduced me to people the Y has been important to. He was such an important connection.”
But despite Raymond’s fondness for (and many links) to history, he is hardly stuck in the past. “He speaks often about how change is good,” Reeves notes. “He’s not afraid of moving forward.”
Renaming Sunny Lane “Allen Raymond Lane” is perfectly good change, Reeves adds.
“Allen has said that when he was a kid, his goal was to live in Westport.
“He not only did that — he also made Westport better in so many ways.
“We’re honored to be able to give something back to him, in some small way, for all he’s done for the Y, and for Westport.”
Click below for a YouTube video: Y chairman Jim Marpe surprising Allen Raymond with the news of his new lane.