O’Reilly: Terry Rooney is a problem solver

To the Editor,

This letter is in support of Terry Rooney for First Selectman. I know Terry as a family man and small business owner here in Monroe. To me, Terry is a problem solver and a giver.

For example, the historic St. Peter’s Grace Episcopal Church on the green had a problem. Its 100-plus-year-old bell had not been working due to age and weathering. The children would ring the bell every Sunday before the service and were saddened when it became inoperable.

I was put in charge of getting it repaired. I had been up and down that bell tower many times with a multitude of craftsmen, carpenters, friends and relatives trying to find a solution. Estimates ranged in the tens of thousands of dollars. Being a small congregation, the money just wasn’t there.

When Terry heard about my situation he said, “Mike I’ll fix the bell.”

I questioned Terry who is a big guy, and said, “I don’t think you can even get up there.” The old wooden ladders and multiple hatches were an obstacle course just to reach the bell.

Terry said I’ll meet you there Saturday. Terry showed up with Rob Westlund, a local guy whose hobby was building race cars in his garage.

Needless to say, when I showed up, they were both up in the tower with tool belts, cables and pulleys. By evening the bell was ringing once again!

Since neither were parishioners, I begged them to take money at least for parts. But no, it was enough for them that a historic landmark had been restored. Just one example of Terry’s selfless commitment to the town of Monroe.

There were many other things he could have been doing on that Saturday, but he chose to fix a problem that wasn’t even his. I am confident that as first selectman Terry will confront every issue head on and represent our town with such enthusiasm.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael O’Reilly M.D.

Chairman Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission

Medical Advisor Monroe Health Department

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.

1 Comment

  1. My response is not intended to diminish anyone’s efforts getting the bell operable once again. I’m responding instead with regard to a safety concern. The bell, and the corroded cast iron framework that suspends it, date to 1875 and have been exposed to the elements in an open belfry for 148 years now. The photos of the bell currently posted on the Saint Peter’s Grace Facebook page show clear evidence of major stress cracks in the cast iron supporting structure. Unless those structural issues were addressed by the recent volunteer work, I would absolutely not recommend ringing the bell at all. A catastrophic failure in that framework could result in tragic fatalities.

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