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Stanley Young named Wilton’s Citizen of the Year

  • Stanley Young, right, shakes the hand of Select Board Chair Dan Donovan as he is given Wilton's 2012 Citizen of the Year Award in a ceremony in his honor at the Town Hall Saturday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Stanley Young, right, shakes the hand of Select Board Chair Dan Donovan as he is given Wilton's 2012 Citizen of the Year Award in a ceremony in his honor at the Town Hall Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. Santa Claus made an appearance at the ceremony, greeting the crowd gathered to honor Young.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. Santa Claus made an appearance at the ceremony, greeting the crowd gathered to honor Young.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • The Wilton Fire Department gave a lift to Santa and Mrs. Claus, who attended Wilton's Citizen of the Year ceremony at the Town Hall Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    The Wilton Fire Department gave a lift to Santa and Mrs. Claus, who attended Wilton's Citizen of the Year ceremony at the Town Hall Saturday.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Stanley Young, right, shakes the hand of Select Board Chair Dan Donovan as he is given Wilton's 2012 Citizen of the Year Award in a ceremony in his honor at the Town Hall Saturday. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. Santa Claus made an appearance at the ceremony, greeting the crowd gathered to honor Young.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • The Wilton Fire Department gave a lift to Santa and Mrs. Claus, who attended Wilton's Citizen of the Year ceremony at the Town Hall Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Stanley Young was named Wilton's Citizen of the Year for 2012 on Saturday at the Wilton Town Hall. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

WILTON — One of Stanley Young’s formative childhood experiences was wandering down to the Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library when he was bored and being faced with a grey-haired and stern-faced librarian, who pointed him at the library’s collection of author Thornton Burgess’ books in the children’s room.

While other children were learning to read with school primers about Dick and Jane and their dog, Spot, Young devoured Burgess’ series of animal stories concerning conservation and wildlife, and he developed a lifelong attachment to education and the library. He would come to repay the library as an adult, spearheading an effort to revitalize the historic building as the chair of the Heritage Commission.

The town recognized Young’s dedication to the library, along with his involvement with the Heritage Commission and Historical Society on Saturday, naming him Citizen of the Year.

Young said he was honored by the award, although his efforts were only a small part of the contribution to the library.

“David A. Gregg gave a jewel of a library to the town. But that was 100 years ago and in 100 years jewels get tarnished a little bit,” Young said during his acceptance speech. “I’m grateful that I could help polish up this jewel of a building, but I had a lot of help. It wasn’t done by myself.”

Select Board Chair Dan Donovan said that kind of humility is typical of Young.

“I called Stan, and Stan, in typical self-deprecating fashion, said ‘Why me?’ He then went on to explain there are a lot of others who have done, in his view, more for the town than he has,” Donovan said as he presented the award to Young. “I explained to Stan, it’s because you’re Stanley, with everything that implies. Stan is the ultimate Yankee, and is as solid as the granite hills from which he hails. He is self-deprecating, a thoroughly dependable guy and a pleasure to deal with.”

Young said his experiences in Wilton formed who he is today. As a teenager during World War II, he worked for the town’s Highway Department, along with other men who were too old to fight in the war.

“They were nice guys, and always very kind to me, but not many of them had even a high school education,” said Young. Everything in those days, from tarring roads to digging ditches, was done by hand. Young said at the end of the day, he knew he wanted more out of life. And the best way to get it was through an education. Encouraged by one of his high school teachers, he pursued a career as an electrical engineer.

Now as an adult, he said, he wants to be a participant in the town that shaped him into the man he is today.

“In many ways, I’m grateful to the town of Wilton, and I’m glad that I could give back to it,” Young said. “That’s my philosophy in life: If we can all give back a little to the place that we live, it becomes a much greater place to live, a better place to live.”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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