Written by Michael P. Walsh
WEST HAVEN, CT — Tom Conroy, a former program coordinator at the Department of Parks and Recreation, received citations from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and state Rep. Dorinda Borer dedicating the Painter Park pavilion as “Conroy Corner” on Monday.
As two dozen loved ones, friends, co-workers and staff members, and former and current city and state officials looked on, Park-Rec Director Mark E. Paine Jr. removed a black shroud revealing a blue-and-white vinyl sign in honor of Conroy, who retired from the department in September after 27 years of service and “improving the quality of life for countless Westies.”
Conroy, choking back tears in front of his newly unveiled Conroy Corner sign, said overseeing Park-Rec’s camp, recreational and sports programs was “a job of a lifetime.”
He thanked Rossi and his bosses, Paine and former Park-Rec Director Bill Slater, for giving him the freedom to create dynamic and engaging programs for West Haven’s young people.
A lifelong West Havener, Conroy also thanked his bosses’ boss, Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo, for hiring him in May 1995 for his “dream job,” along with the many colleagues and employees who helped him meet the city’s recreational needs.
At the midafternoon dedication, he was accompanied by wife Barbara Conroy, daughters Kristina Conroy and Colleen Innamorato, and grandchildren Charlie Innamorato, 2, and Grace Innamorato, 3 months.
He was also joined by his sister and brother-in-law, Lynn and Tom Jaqua; his niece and her husband, Stacee and Paul Nixon; and former Rep. Stephen D. Dargan, D-West Haven, a longtime friend of Conroy’s who had secured state funding to build the pavilion in the heart of the Kelsey Avenue park.
Before presenting the mayoral citation, Rossi read it to Conroy, saying: “I proudly dedicate the Painter Park pavilion as Conroy Corner, immortalizing the spot where many of your programs have been enjoyed by thousands of children. I hope you reflect with pride on the memories you have made and the lives you have touched.”
Borer, D-West Haven, followed by reading and presenting the General Assembly citation on behalf of the city’s delegation to Conroy, who has served with his good friend Borer on the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee for years.