Commentary: Coach Pic’s passion and guidance made a difference

The success of Shelton as a community, as I have said before, rests squarely on the shoulders of its citizens.

The influence and direction we receive from our elders and leaders are how we will find solutions to problems that can't be solved by legislation, regulations and especially not by big government.

At only 68 years old when he passed, Anthony Picollo was the inspiration for so many young men and women for whom he set a great example while molding and shaping their minds and lives to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Brian Picollo, Tony Pic's son, put it very clearly when he said he was lucky to have a father like Tony. I'm sure all his other children, and those who knew him, would agree with Brian’s whole-hearted assessment and that they were lucky to have known him also.

'A man for others'

On Sept. 17, the city of Shelton, the Valley, and Connecticut lost a great example of a person who was, as the Jesuits have taught for centuries, "a man for others.”

He stood tall in his commitment to be a champion for others, and to inspire others to be all that they could be.

Anthony (Tony) Picollo — or simply "Coach Pic" — was that person every day. His life was dedicated to the education of thousands of students as a teacher in the Shelton school system, but his passion for providing a level playing field for young women on the baseball diamond can't be overlooked.

The later of those passions was like a religion to Coach Pic as well as a sport. His playbook for his players wasn’t just to understand and learn about the sport of softball, but to respect themselves, their opponents and the sometimes extremely long  hard journey to victory.

The Golden Rule, which seems to be lost or forgotten by many in this modern age, stood out in his philosophy of assisting anyone who played for — or coached with — him.

He gave his all

Pic gave his all to his family, profession, his city, and sports. He was a stand-out athlete and knew the roots of his success came from those on the sidelines who coached him.

And he paid it forward as a coach and mentor to many for decades.

He also took his passion for sports further than most and, with a small nucleus of like-minded individuals, made a difference in the lives of students throughout the area and the state by assisting many to be scholar-athletes so they could advance their formal education.

He took the time to ensure that there were official state organizations to guide students, coaches and the schools to promote and oversee the leagues.

Coach Pic, we tip our hats to say thank you for all that you accomplished and did for our city and the surrounding communities.

The direct influence you have on any situation in the community can only be measured by how much you are willing to commit and give back to others.

Expanded farmers market plans

The farmers of Shelton are truly committed to a new farmers market agreement with the city of Shelton to  better serve the community.

The locally grown produce and staples will be even more abundant at the Shelton Farmers Market shortly. Many more of our local farmers are joining together to make the Shelton Farmers Market the envy of markets across the state.

Led by Guy Beardsley, Terry Jones, Bob Mingrone and other Shelton farmers, we will reap the benefit of their hard work and knowledge of nurturing and growing so many of the things we enjoy cooking, eating, and sharing with family and friends.

And just to prove how committed our farmers are to their craft, Shelton's own Stacia Monahan of Stone Garden Farm in White Hills was recently named as Connecticut Young Farmer of the Year. She along with her husband Fred are some of our youngest farmers.

Apples, pumpkins and wine

Everyone knows that the growing seasons will be coming to an end shortly but apple picking is now in full gear at Beardsley Orchards along with warm doughnuts, fresh pies and apple cider. And not far from the Monroe border with Shelton is Jones Family Farms and Winery, where several generations of farmers are still hard at work.

Don't miss out — get down to the Shelton Farmers Market, which is still open on Saturdays featuring the freshest produce you will find anywhere.

Anthony F. Simonetti is chairman of the Shelton Republican Town Committee as well as an alderman for the First Ward.