Written by Spencer Dreher
I have a job in my town every Saturday during the winter where I score-keep for the youth basketball league. As I drove in to the middle school where the league holds its games, I was behind a tan-like-colored minivan. I did not think much of this vehicle at first but when I saw who got out of it, a smile developed on my face.
Out of the minivan stepped one of the players and his father, mayor of my town, Democrat Robert Mezzo.
So why did this make me so happy?
Well, before Mezzo was mayor, Mike Bronko, a neighbor of mine, ran the borough of Naugatuck. A few weeks after Bronko took office, I no longer saw him come home in his normal everyday vehicle. Rather, he came home in an FBI-type black vehicle, which was clearly provided to him by the town.
Am I trying to give off a negative vibe on the former Republican mayor? Absolutely not. If I were mayor, I would have asked for that car on the first day.
The difference is, however, that Mezzo didn’t.
This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but this tells a lot about Mezzo. One of the things it tells us is that we all are upset after the announcement that the now three-term mayor made just a couple of weeks ago.
Mezzo said in his personal blog, “…I have decided that it is time for me to begin the next chapter of my life. I will not be seeking a fourth term during our municipal elections this November.”
The way things were going, it looked as if nobody was going to run against Mezzo in upcoming elections anytime soon, and there was a good reason behind that.
Everyone in this town, no matter what political allegiance they take, respects the heck out of Mayor Mezzo. The man truly loved his town and was involved in many of the community’s events. I mean, come on. Even after a full week of hard work downtown, our mayor would come down on Friday nights during the fall and be the press announcer for the high school football home games. How many mayors, if any, do that?
He never treated himself like a celebrity. He made himself like a normal citizen and he never acted like he was superior to anyone. One time, he came up to me to joke about my bold prediction in the newspaper that his Patriots were going to lose the Super Bowl to Seattle. You don’t need to know him extremely well for him to strike a conversation with him.
This town has gone through ups and downs as of late. There has been a struggle to sell the lot where the legendary Peter Paul candy factory once stood before moving south. There has been a struggle to pass a town budget. Also included is a new education budget that has made cuts towards teachers and even the home economics class in the middle school. However, Mayor Mezzo has been more than proud to work in his town.
In his blog, Mezzo writes, “…it has always been an honor to serve the only hometown I have ever known.”
So if you ever see that tan colored minivan driving town, do not forget to give a friendly wave to the man driving it. He deserves it.
And if you ever catch Mayor Mezzo around town, whether it is at a sporting event or at the town hall, make sure to thank him. Mezzo never asked for much, but there is no doubt that he should go out in style and he deserves a big farewell.