Category Archives: Unsung Heroes

Unsung Hero #4

Most of us don’t know our trash collectors.

They arrive before we’re awake, or when we’re not home. If we do see them, we seldom interact.

But Bill Malone is special. According to Jo Ann Davidson — one of his 82 customers at Harvest Commons — he takes care of everyone, in all kinds of weather.

“He is always cheerful and helpful,” she says. “He lets us know if the holidays change the schedule. A real pro.”

Jo Ann is a retired 1st grade teacher. She is proud of all her former students — especially her recycler, Bill Malone.

Bill Malone

Unsung Hero #3

If you’re a Westporter, you probably know Mike Calise.

The 1958 Staples High School graduate and Marine Corps veteran runs the longtime and very successful Settlers & Traders real estate firm. He’s a frequent attendee at town meetings, making sure nothing slips through our boards and commissions’ cracks.

Mike Calise with his sweetheart, Sally.

You can find him almost any day — in any weather — at Compo Beach. That’s where he hangs out, by himself or with his extended family. He keeps a loving eye on it too.

Mike and his grandkids. Cookouts on the beach are a family tradition. The food often comes from Calise’s deli — the market his family established in the 1930s,.

Mike has a great back story. While still at Staples, he boxed in the New York Golden Gloves tournament.

While stationed at Camp Lejeune, he bought a 9-passenger Pontiac Safari station wagon. Each weekend he ran a North Carolina to New York transport service ($15 each way; 658 miles in 11 hours).

His mother Louise — of Calise’s market fame — packed a large bag of delicious meatball and eggplant sandwiches for every trip back.

Mike Calise, Staples Class of 1958.

As a Marine from 1958 to ’63, he was assigned to Force Recon — an elite group that was always first on shore. They trained with daily long distance runs and swims.

Mike started an Arnold bread truck route in 1963. He founded Settlers & Traders in 1967. In 2008, he received a Historic Preservation Award for the restoration of  his office building at 215 Post Road West. This year, his real estate firm celebrates 50 years.

For all his life — going back to his family’s stores on Post Road West and East — he’s been an important part of life here. He’s a longtime member of the Republican Town Committee; a former delegate to the state Republican convention, and served on the RTM and Architectural Review Board.

Mike loves nature, gardening and canoeing. No morning at the beach is complete without his “Compo Gumbo.”

He loves Compo so much, he’s got it on his license plate:

Mike cherishes his family: his longtime sweetheart Sally; his 5 children (Catherine, Sandra, Maria, Bettina and Frank), and 7 grandkids (Francesca, Trent, CJ, Reed, Charlotte, Cameron and Caleigh).

They love him right back.

As does the rest of Westport — the town he’s loved for over 70 years.

Mike Calise, in a familiar pose.

Unsung Hero #2

Pat (Vaast) Workman was born and raised in Westport. She graduated from Staples High School, then Bay Path College.

For over 30 years, she has taught at Greens Farms Nursery School. It’s not easy working with 4-year-olds — but her patience, love and wonderful ways with young children has prepared hundreds to head off to kindergarten.

It is easy to forget your nursery school teacher. But wherever Pat goes in Westport, kids run up to say hi.

And their parents. She’s taught a surprising number of moms and dads of children she now has.

Pat and her husband Jim have been married for 47 years. He happily shares her with her students. She spends countless hours at home, working on projects to help inspire them.

Congratulations, Pat — you’re “06880”‘s Unsung Hero of the week!

Introducing A New “06880” Feature: Unsung Heroes

Westport is filled with amazing people. They head our government and non-profit organizations. They’re business owners, arts advocates, athletes — the town’s movers and shakers.

We know them, because they’re so active and visible. They’re the folks who frequently — and deservedly — get their names and mugs on “06880.”

But Westport is also filled with amazing people who never get shout-outs.

Store clerks, bank tellers, baristas. Cleaning ladies, volunteers, neighbors. Their list is probably a lot longer than the one of all the great men and women everyone always thanks.

Now — every Wednesday — our unsung heroes will have their praises sung.

Any “06880” reader can nominate anyone. It can be someone who has spent a lifetime doing good, quiet deeds — or someone who did one great solid you noticed.

Unsung heroes can be any age. They can do anything. The only qualification is: They must live, work, or otherwise have some connection to Westport.

Email dwoog@optonline.net, with a photo and description of your unsung hero. He or she can know about your nomination in advance — or it can be a complete surprise. They’ll be posted every Wednesday, at noon.

Here’s our 1st Unsung Hero:

Alert — and grateful — “06880” reader Chris Swan (above) says:

Trudy Lynch has been our USPS carrier for many years. But since I retired 4 years ago, I’ve gotten to know her very well.

Though morale at the Post Office seems to have gotten very low, Trudy always smiles and tries to raise her coworkers’ spirits.

She often stops her truck and walks up to drop off mail, as opposed to stuffing it in the box on the street. She is not your typical government employee.

Just today, she delivered (another) Amazon box. Her smile was so contagious, she gave us a real lift.

My wife Carol wondered how many people actually know their carrier’s name?

So we took her picture to send your way in recognition of this terrific employee, serving our community tirelessly day in and out.

Congratulations, Trudy. You are the first of many unsung heroes — making you truly #1!