NAUGATUCK — For Flora Fidalgo Keefe, volunteering in the community is about two things: getting involved and getting connected.
Keefe was honored as Naugatuck’s Portuguese mayor of the day Sept. 2 during a ceremony at Town Hall that kicked off the 66th annual Sao Paio Festival.
“Naugatuck is a town of great tradition,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said. “We are probably best known for our tradition in sports, but we are a very proud community. Portugal, as we know, is a country of great tradition. So what we really have is a perfect marriage of tradition.”
Keefe, 55, is a lifelong Naugatuck resident. She joined the Naugatuck Portuguese Club in 2006 and has been part of the club’s Board of Directors since 2008. She has served as the assistant to the vice president, treasurer, financial secretary and vice president.
Keefe joined the club as a way to get involved and carry on the tradition of volunteering set forth by her grandparents. Keefe remembers her grandparents volunteering at the club.
“Then my parents, Jacinto and Maria Flora Fidalgo, stepped in. They did not fear responsibility; they welcomed it. They are my role models for getting involved. I hope I honor that family legacy,” Keefe said.
Hess said, “She is a perfect example of what we have in Naugatuck and what we need in the blending together of Portuguese culture and American culture and working together to make Naugatuck a better community.”
State representatives David Labriola, R-Oxford, and Rosa Rebimbas, R-Naugatuck, presented Keefe with a citation from the legislature.
“Your selection as mayor of the day is particularly apt because you so well personify the rich culture and fine heritage of the Portuguese people, Portugal, and your community,” Labriola said.
Keefe said volunteering at the club gave her a chance to practice speaking Portuguese and to build leadership skills. She said volunteering leads to being connected with other members of the community.
“A lot of people join the club because they want to connect with other Portuguese people. The best way to do that is to not just stop by for coffee or come to a meeting, but to get involved through volunteering. Believe me when I say, volunteers are in great demand at any and all of our events. When you work side by side with someone else, you get to know him or her not only as a member, but as a person,” Keefe said.