NAUGATUCK — Playing cards first attracted David Wilde to the Naugatuck Elks Lodge 11 years ago. Since then, the borough native has played his cards right.
The Naugatuck Elks Lodge 967 has selected Wilde, 52, as the 2014 Elk of the Year.
“I’m very honored,” Wilde said. “It’s a prestigious award.”
Wilde was introduced to the Elks by his brothers-in-law. They felt that Wilde would enjoy the organization since one of his hobbies is playing cards, which is one of the activities at the lodge.
Since then, Wilde said, he has spent a lot of time playing cards and donating his time to help the community with the lodge.
“They’re very good people. The logo is Elks Care, Elks Share,” Wilde said. “They really care about their community. I really believe that.”
In addition to playing cards, Wilde helps out preparing the lodge’s weekly Saturday luncheon, which is open to lodge members and the public alike, and assisting with the Good Friday Spring Cleaning at the lodge each year.
After the heavy rains of August 2012 damaged the club, Wilde and his brother Joseph Rotella helped restore the Hennessey Room in the lodge.
“We were both laid off, and we decided we’d help out and do the ceramic tile and the ceiling tiles,” Wilde said.
Wilde joined the Connecticut Laborers Union Local 390 after high school and began his construction career working on various projects throughout the state, according to a press release issued by the Elks Lodge. He has worked as a concrete pump operator for CT Concrete for the past 18 years.
Wilde lives in Naugatuck with Cheryl, his wife of 25 years, and his two daughters, Paige and Stephanie.
Wilde said one of the reasons he enjoys being an Elk is that the lodge donates its time and money to help many different aspects of the community, such as youth soccer teams. Both his daughters play soccer in town, he said.
Wilde will be honored Feb. 22 at the Elks Lodge, 758 Rubber Ave. Tickets cost $30 and are available at the lodge or by calling Tom Lawlor at (203) 758-4796. In addition to honoring Wilde, the evening will include dinner and dancing.
“I’m very honored to be chosen for this award,” Wilde said. “Not everybody gets it. You have to earn it.”