Wiltonian Dave Cote wrote a great letter to the editor several weeks ago in which he responded with multiple counter-examples to an earlier letter to the editor from a visitor to our town who excoriated the behavior of Wilton residents the visitor had encountered.  Let me offer a few more counter-examples.

I know that wherever a child is in our school system, he or she will receive an outstanding education from dedicated and remarkably caring teachers who are tops in their field.

I know that in this town are people with hearts so full that they would give the proverbial shirt offs their backs to help someone in need or even, in the case of the actions of Wiltonian Tom Dubin at a recent car wreck he witnessed, put his own life on the line to rescue the victim before flames engulfed the vehicle. I know likewise that our police officers would do that for any one of us in need. I know that because they already have, from the recent car-fire rescue to the one some years ago by the late, much-loved Wilton Police Sergeant T.J. Tunney. They, like our fire and ambulance first responders, also strive to meet general and specific community needs even as they carry out their professional responsibilities.

I know that I can see displayed in Signature Style the entrepreneurial sewing handiwork of the widowed mother of our Syrian-American family and know that their display of her work is both a wise business decision and a generous gesture of support. I can go to Our Lady of Fatima's large Parish Hall and see her remarkable curtain-sewing work on display in the curtains with valances that grace each window and marvel at the excellence of the workmanship. And I can also marvel at the faith and trust of Father Reggie Norman in commissioning that work and of parishioner Kathy Rooney who facilitated it so well. Visiting with Wiltonian Jan Hapke a year ago (and continuing on from there right to the present), one could see Jan providing the grounding instruction in sewing that took this mother from no prior sewing experience — but with what all recognize as a quick mind and a very careful approach to her work — to a level of sewing performance of professional grade.

It somehow came as no surprise in the published autobiography of Sister Leonora Tucker of the School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Wilton campus — about her 26 years of work in enormously challenging circumstances in sub-Saharan Africa in the midst of civil war — to see credit given to Wiltonian Pam Klem, congregant of Temple B’nai Chaim, for her support of that work. Nor is it a surprise to learn of the pro bono work of Wiltonian Dr. Hossein Sadeghi, renowned pediatric pulmonologist on the faculty of Columbia University Medical School, and his wife Dr. Golnar Raissi, with young cystic fibrosis patients from around the world.    

I read the work of a fellow regular column writer for this paper and sometimes agree and other times disagree but know that our discussions will always be not just civil but enriched by friendship. In fact, I think many people these days believe that disagreement and hostility must necessarily go hand-in-hand. I believe otherwise: disagreements civilly presently can lead to a higher and better understanding for all concerned. I hope that as a nation, we are able to join in the realization of how much civil discourse enables successful life in community.

I expect that our Wilton experience is replicated in towns and cities all over the country, but I also think that Wilton has its own particularly caring and positive character that is very special even if not unique.

That being said, I know we are not always at our best — and sometimes are at our worst — as in vituperative social media attacks. I also hear concerns expressed about an entitlement mentality here, and I know for sure that our town is filled with virulent Type As (of whom I readily confess to being one myself). However, they’re Type As with a heart, and that great heart, joined with Type-A drive and organizational skills, makes a powerful combination! Time and again, I see the fruits of what our community does for the good of others and see it being done by faithful and dedicated people across the generations. That's a lot to be proud of and also a lot to ensure remains integral to who we are as Wiltonians.