Tag Archives: Willie Salmond

Roundup: Downtown Parking, PAL, Back To School, More


The month-long closure of the south end of Main Street is over. Planters have been removed; cars can once again park on both sides of the road.


Cancellation of the July 4th fireworks disappointed thousands of Westporters. But the decision was especially tough on Westport PAL. They sponsor the annual show. The money they make pays for a host of activities: sports programs for thousands of kids, the Longshore Ice Rink, an annual Halloween parade, a party for children with Santa, health and wellness efforts, and much more.

Which is why their upcoming golf tournament (September 14, Longshore golf course) is more important than ever.

The 58th annual event — named for former Police Chief Samuel Luciano, a staunch PAL supporter — begins at 7 a.m. with a continental breakfast and putting contest.

There’s a shotgun start, scramble format; lunch; more golf, then dinner, raffles and prizes (hole-in-one, hula hoop, longest drive, closest to pin).

The cost is $175 per golfer, $700 per foursome. Sponsorships are available too, from $150 to $5,000 (largest sign at first tee, banner on dinner tent, complimentary foursome). Click here to register, sponsor — or just donate to PAL.


Westport’s “Back to School” and “After-School” programs — both of which serve families in need — are always well utilized, and generously supported. In our new coronavirus world, they are more important than ever.

Elaine Daignault — director of the Department of Human Services, which oversees both projects — notes, “This is not a typical fall. COVID-19 has disrupted the usual back-to-school enthusiasm with a sense of anxiety, and fear of the unknown.

“Still, you can help to reinforce a child’s sense of hope and stability by ensuring they have tools they need to excel in school, and an opportunity to participate in after-school activities.”

Human Services relies on the generosity of neighbors to provide financial assistance for income-eligible families. Last year, 192 children benefited from Westport’s Back to School Program, and many families accessed affordable after-school childcare.

Tax-deductible donations (cash or gift cards to Staples, Target, Walmart, etc.) can be made online; click here, then select “Family to Family Programs – Seasonal Program – Back to School”), or send a check payable to “Town of Westport/DHS Back to School Program” to Human Services, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT  06880.

Families who may qualify for this program should contact DHS youth and family social worker Michelle Bottone by phone (203-341-1068) or email (mbottone@westportct.gov).

The Department of Human Services’ Back to School program helps youngsters get backpacks — and fill them with needed supplies.


Residents of Glenwood Lane have had it with Optimum.

After Tropical Storm Isaias, it took 12 days for cable and onternet to be restored to the street, off Maple Avenue South. Pieces of old cables still hang there.

Two days ago — August 31 — a crew finally arrived to clean up. But they turned the service off again, leaving residents who depend on the internet during the pandemic unable to work.

Optimum responded that the earliest they could come back to fix their mistake would be September 5. They then said they would come yesterday (September 1). However, they did not show up. Optimum now promises to come today.

Instead of sitting waiting for another no-show, some residents publicized their plight. This is one of 2 signs at the head of their road.

(Photo/Aurea de Souza)


Westport knows him as Willie Salmond. He was born in Scotland, lives here,  and has spent much of his professional career (and retirement) in Africa, working first in international development and then in AIDS relief. He is also an author and screenwriter.

As William Salmond, he’s just published “Deep Secrets.” Here’s a brief description, on Amazon:

As the Coronavirus ravaged the world economy with the yawning chasm of inequality between rich and poor getting deeper and wider, no one seemed to notice the movement south into Africa of swaths of Al Qaeda-hardened committed fighters. It was a unique opportunity to regroup and prepare for the final knock-out blow to the Great Satan and her allies whose economies were already on the ropes.

Is life a game of chance? Or is there a guiding hand? Racked by guilt and shame can we truly be forgiven and find healing and even love?

Money man Winslow Kirk looks for answers to these questions as he steps out of his comfort zone into the heart of Africa in search of his granddaughter Eleanor whom he allowed to be given up for adoption following a tragic boating accident. A threat note from the world’s number one terrorist who is coordinating the threat to Western countries sharpens his resolve. Can he find Eleanor and will she forgive him? After his wife’s death and his own cardiac illness he begins to muse about what really matters.

For more information and to order, click here.


And finally … today would be the 81st birthday of Robert Lee Dickey. When he began singing with his cousin James Lee Purify, the duo became “James and Bobby Purify.” Dickey died in 2011. You may not remember their names, but this beautiful song may ring a bell:

Willie Salmond’s Africa Mission

Willie Salmond is a minister, ordained by the Church of Scotland in his home country. He’s owned a house in Westport for 30 years.

But he’s spent most of his life in Africa.

There were 10 years in Ghana. Seventeen in Uganda. Three more in Zimbabwe.

Willie Salmond

Salmond worked in international development with farmers. Then he trained Peace Corps volunteers.

His life changed when he was sent to San Francisco, to learn about AIDS. He went back to a camp in Kampala, to run Uganda’s first testing and counseling through a USAID-funded program.

Salmond is retired now. He’s back in Westport, where — during his stints here — he helped coach his 2 daughters’ soccer teams. Now he’s a member of the Y’s Men.

But for 10 days last month, he made a very meaningful return to Uganda.

He met a man and woman who at age 14 had lived in his first AIDS camp. Today they lead their own program.

Recently, Salmond spoke at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. Some parishioners were surprised to learn how grateful Ugandans are for the United States’ $18 million support for antiretroviral drugs.

Learning together at an AIDS program in Uganda.

The program was begun by President George W. Bush. It was reauthorized by President Obama. It continues under President Trump.

Salmond hopes it will keep going — though no one is sure. Stopping it, he says, would be “catastrophic. Many lives have been saved. Young people are assured a healthy future.”

There is a lot in the news these days about taxes, Salmond says. He believes firmly that this program is money well spent.

Very few Americans hear about programs like this. He would like at least his fellow Westporters to know about it.

This Old Boiler

All around Westport, homeowners proudly display plaques bearing the dates their houses were built: 1884. 1720. 1683.

(Others, of course, proudly display the many gables and great rooms of the homes they’ve built to replace those historic ones. But that’s a different story.)

There’s a lot going on inside old homes too. Yesterday, Gault honored Westport’s oldest boiler.

It’s fitting. The company — recently renamed Gault Energy & Home Solutions —  is the oldest business in Westport. By several decades.

Gault was already 57 years old — just a little younger than Mitchells of Westport is now — in 1920, when workers installed a coal-fueled heating unit for the Abbott family.

The 96-year-old boiler in the Salmonds' basement.

The 96-year-old boiler in the Salmonds’ basement.

The Dutch colonial on St. John Place has been renovated several times since Woodrow Wilson was president. But the boiler was the same.

This week, company president Sam Gault presented homeowners Willie and Anne Salmond — a retired couple — with a state-of-the-art new one. It’s quite a 45th wedding anniversary gift: The value is $11,000 (including installation).

(And it came not a moment too soon. Sleet fell yesterday, on the coldest day of the fall.)

Sam Gault (right), president of Gault Energy & Home Solutions, delivered a new state-of-the-art Energy Kinetics System 2000 boiler to Willie and Anne Salmond.

Sam Gault (right), president of Gault Energy & Home Solutions, delivered a new state-of-the-art Energy Kinetics System 2000 boiler to Anne and Willie Salmond yesterday.

The Salmonds — who moved here in 1984, when Gault was just 121 years young — have an interesting story themselves. They raised 3 children in Westport, but also traveled extensively for work. Among other things, he served in Uganda with an HIV/AIDS prevention program, while she did foundation work in India.

Both are members of the Saugatuck Congregational Church. He’s recently taken on preaching assignments there, and at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

Willie is from Scotland. Anne is from Northern Ireland. Both grew up in homes where heat was a luxury. In fact, coal was used in bedrooms only if someone was sick.

As a New England winter nears, the heat is welcome — especially since Anne has arthritis.

Gault's new logo (and name).

They thanked Gault for its generosity, noting that since retirement they wanted to spend their money on what Anne calls “things you can see. We ignored the old dinosaur in our basement.” Now, they’re inspired to take on other domestic  projects.

Here’s one final twist: The original owners of the Salmonds’ house — the Abbotts –are related to the Gaults through marriage.

How’s that for a heart-“warming” story?