A long-time member of the Southington Police Department has been named the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA’s person of the year. The brand of community service represented by Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri is rare — and perhaps growing rarer — and one that makes this pick by the Y a winner.
A recent Record-Journal story on the Y’s choice included the headline “Tireless efforts,” a phrase that perfectly sums up a personality, with a dedication to the community that has stood the test of time. Surely it’s not an easy task to accomplish while balancing the duties and responsibilities of a police officer. But Palmieri has found a way to meld professional and community interests that’s resulted in a big impact around town.
“I don’t know there’s many individuals in the community that give from the heart like Bill does with his time and resources,” said Mark Pooler, YMCA executive director, announcing the award. “Pick an initiative in Southington and he’s involved somehow, some way.”
The YMCA will honor Palmieri at its annual dinner on Feb. 15 at the Aqua Turf Club. A 37-year veteran of the police department, Palmieri is a well-known and vital part of a host of local projects. A life-long Southington resident, his motivation to improve the town was instilled in him by his parents who volunteered locally and emphasized the importance of service to others.
Palmieri serves as president of Southington’s Town-Wide Effort to Promote Success. He helped revamp the DARE curriculum with STEPS and said, “kids need to be seen, they need to be heard, they need to be listened to.” He’s also been involved with the Dementia Friendly Southington initiative and other safety programs.
Described by Pooler as “a tremendous gentleman,” Palmieri resisted taking credit for his contributions. “Any success that I’ve had is a result of great people around me. It’s parents that support me, it’s the community that’s supported us. It’s not anything about Billy Palmieri,” he said.
R-J reporter Jesse Buchanan wrote about police Chief Jack Daly’s comments on Palmieri’s award. The chief noted that police work isn’t a normal 9-to-5 job. “When you care about the community, you’re doing over and above your normal day.”
A gentleman, a legacy of community service, a tireless worker — great words to describe Palmieri and well earned. But he revealed another part of his life experience that brings into focus a factor that makes this award all the more impressive.
With a humbleness that we have to appreciate, Palmieri reminds us that we have to keep striving to help people reach their potential. He openly disclosed that he’d had his share of troubles growing up and that caring adults kept him on a good path.
“I could have had a very different outcome if there weren't people who cared,” Palmieri said.
This recognition of Palmieri’s community service represents more than a list of good works, it shows that helping others succeed, especially our young people, can result in quite amazing dividends.