NAUGATUCK — For Larry Erickson giving back to the community is, in part, a reaction to feeling so welcomed by the community.
“People have been good to me. You give back when people are good,” said Erickson, 44, the owner of Jesse Camille’s Restaurant in Naugatuck.
The Naugatuck Rotary Club will honor Erickson as this year’s recipient of the Paul Harris Award during the club’s annual Foundation Dinner Nov. 13. The award honors a member of the Naugatuck community that has exemplified outstanding professional achievement while maintaining very high ethical standards.
Club President Jeanine LeVasseur said Erickson, who lives in Prospect, is exactly the type of person the club looks for in a recipient of the award.
“I was sitting in his restaurant one time and I thought he is the perfect candidate. He quietly does things that no one else does. He’s just a real giving man,” LeVasseur said.
Erickson said he was very honored and flattered to receive the award.
“I just try to support local organizations, schools and sporting programs. Everybody has been good to me over the years,” Erickson said.
One way he has given back to the community was starting, with his family, the Camille Perugini Trust Fund, which was named after his late sister-in-law. According to a press release from the club, the fund has raised approximately raising $177,000 in college scholarships for graduates of local high schools
Erickson has also hosted numerous charity events for local agencies and organizations and can be counted on to donate monies and gift certificates for fund raising events, according to the release. Among those he has worked with are Naugatuck football, the Naugatuck Historical Society and the Naugatuck YMCA. He also assisted Naugatuck police through Tip a Cop events, the press release said.
Erickson said he has relied on the community in the past to help his restaurant succeed and he likes to be able to give back.
“I know what it’s like to rely on the community and the community has always given to me. Naugatuck has always been good to me, so we do what we can here,” Erickson said. “I give whatever I can. If I can’t give time I give donations. Whatever somebody needs, if I have the resources or time to do it, I do it.”
In addition to his work in the borough, Erickson volunteers his time in other towns. According to the press release, he has coached youth hockey in Watertown, baseball and soccer in Prospect and lacrosse in Wolcott.
Erickson, a Boston native, has lived in Prospect since 1993 and opened Jesse Camille’s in 1996. He lives with his wife, Carla, and his children Jesse, Mike, Carly, and Samantha.
Erickson said that he will continue to do what he can to help the borough.
“Our business is here, and we’re proud to be here,” Erickson said.
The dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at The Crystal Room, 98 School St. The RSVP date is Nov. 6. Tickets are $40 per person. To RSVP or for more information, call Rebecca Zandvliet at (203) 982-9800 or Jeanine LeVasseur at (203) 525-4585.