Naugatuck Hall of Fame inducts new class

Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess, left, speaks during the Naugatuck Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony Oct. 18 in Waterbury. To his left are Master of Ceremonies Dan Ford, and inductees Paul Fitzpatrick, Sharyn Harrison, Bridget Squires Benner, Alan Terry and Stanley ‘Chuck’ Rek. –KEN MORSE

WATERBURY — Over 250 people gathered Oct. 19 at the Lady of Fatima Church hall to usher in the Naugatuck Hall of Fame’s 48th class.

Naugatuck High School alumni Bridget Squires Benner, Paul Fitzpatrick, Sharyn Harrison, Stanley “Chuck” Rek and Alan Terry can now call themselves hall of famers.

“I still remember going to the very first Hall of Fame awards ceremony when I was in high school, and here I am today standing at this podium and it is an honor to be here,” said Fitzpatrick, who played basketball, golf and football at Naugatuck High.

Old teammates shared stories about the glory days and former players caught up with former coaches throughout the evening, as the borough sports community came out to honor this year’s inductees.

Harrison — a three-sport star in swimming, track and basketball — said she was honored that all three of her high school coaches attended the ceremony: Chris Herb, Keith Raczkowski and Jim McKee.

“It was the dedication of these coaches that helped me to develop that drive to succeed,” Harrison said. “It was through that experience that has brought me to many places in my life and I have such fond memories of my time in Naugatuck.”

Squires, who played volleyball, basketball and softball, had her family by her side. Her husband, Michael, their three children, Jack, Kayla and Riley, and her parents, Fred and Pam Squires, shared in her proud moment.

Naugatuck Hall of Fame inductee Bridget Squires Benner is pictured with her family during the induction ceremony Oct. 18 in Waterbury. –KEN MORSE

One of the loudest ovations of the evening came when Terry, a longtime volunteer at Union City Little League who has also umpired his share of important Little League games, took the podium. Terry, who is Union City Little League’s umpire in chief, gave the most fashionable acceptance speech when he had everyone rise, face the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, before finishing with a rousing “Play ball.”

Rek, a Prospect resident, made a name for himself on the gridiron during his days at Naugatuck High, but he originally had his sights set on playing football at Wilby. He became a Greyhound instead at the insistence of his parents, beginning a 30-year relationship with Naugatuck football.

Rek coached football for over 25 years under former coaches Craig Peters, who he said was “the most influential gentleman in my life,” and Rob Plasky.

“I didn’t get to play Pop Warner football because I was too big,” Rek said. “So Naugatuck High School was my first experience playing organized football. I fell in love with the sport and with Naugatuck in the process.”

The Naugatuck Hall of Fame also awarded scholarships to Naugatuck athletes during the evening. Julia Dudek and Austin Herb received the Barry Lockwood Memorial Scholarship. Hailey Deitelbaum and Nate Deptula received the Dustin Diver Memorial Scholarship.