NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce honored Mayor Robert Mezzo with the organization’s highest award during its 92nd annual meeting Jan. 15.
Mezzo received the Lewis A. Dibble, Sr. Award, which recognizes a person for their outstanding contribution to the business and socioeconomic well-being of Naugatuck.
“I’m very honored, very humbled by this honor. Based on the quality of individuals who have received it over the many years and what this award has come to symbolize in our community, I’ve always considered the Dibble Award to be one of the highest honors here in the borough. I’m very grateful for the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce and the committee for even considering me for this honor,” Mezzo said.
Mezzo, a Naugatuck native and attorney by trade, is in his third consecutive term as mayor. Mezzo served on the Board of Mayor and Burgesses from 1999 to 2003.
Former Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation CEO David Prendergast said Mezzo has been committed to Naugatuck his entire life.
“Under Bob’s leadership Naugatuck government has enacted a number of impressive accomplishments, several reforms that have directly benefitted the taxpayers and citizens for today and for the long run,” Prendergast said.
Prendergast highlighted a few of Mezzo’s accomplishments including changes in public employee health care designed to maintain the level of care while creating savings, creating the tri-board concept in which members of the Board of Education, Board of Finance and Board of Mayor and Burgesses work together to discuss issues and reorganizing public works into one organizational structure to achieve savings.
Mezzo said the work he has been able to accomplish is due to the fact that he was raised in the borough.
“The life that I have been blessed to lead is simply a reflection of being raised in a community who honors its history, supports its citizens, rewards hard work and innovation, and creates a sense of family between people of very diverse backgrounds who come together to do the common good. I accept this award tonight on behalf of all those people in this room and outside of it who make this Naugatuck what it is, who support it, who support its citizens and its local economy,” Mezzo said.
Mezzo said one of his fondest memories is how officials were able to come together to form the NEDC and work for the betterment of the borough.
“This spirit and commitment has sustained over the years, not because of some quixotic notion that we can magically transform our economy overnight, but because of the quality of people who work together on a daily basis to improve this community,” Mezzo said.
The evening also marked a changing of the guard on the chamber’s Board of Directors. Steven Fournier of Gar Kenyon Aerospace and Defense and Prendergast retired from the board.
Vincent Graziano of New England Systems, Giovanna Griffin of Glendale Center, William Kaelin of Gar Kenyon Aerospace and Defense and Ron Pugliese, CEO of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation were named to the board.