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Ringing the Bell May 2014 The Waterbury Observer

As the OIC movement celebrates 50 years as a community resource, we pay tribute to our great city of Waterbury and the many plans in the making for our residents, offering us a better quality of life.

With “The Gathering” and other activities planned by so many diverse groups, Waterbury remains a beacon lighting up the cultural fabric of our strongly knitted community. While uplifting and promoting each other through communal celebration is just one of the many ways to maintain our strength, we must not forget the contributions of our military men and women.

Years ago, if a young man was close to getting into trouble, judges would offer them a choice to either “go to jail” or “go in the Army”. Those days have passed as now enlistment in our armed forces requires competencies in various educational and vocational skills.

Reverend Leon Sullivan wrote in “Build Brother Build”, that “upgrading of skills is just as important as training for the unemployed, for the great need for jobs is not just among the so-called “hard core unemployed” but among the millions who are willing to work now, but ill prepared to meet the labor needs and demands of the day”.

At WOIC we strive to uplift the individual and direct his or her training, an endeavor needing the precision similar of a military operation coupled with compassionate and dedicated leadership.

Waterbury OIC is blessed to have those qualities in the person of Elmore Shell. Mr. Shell is a retired management specialist who has had a diverse career. He has worked in the corporate world, the public sector and now our non-profit organization is benefitting by his expertise. He is a family man and a former U.S. Marine who remains active in veteran affairs.

There is something truly special about military training, which we glean on a daily basis in our veterans, which we at WOIC personally see exemplified by Mr. Shell each and every day as he walks through the doors of our Center. He is steadfast in his support of the OIC mission, and each and every challenge our mission requests of him, he meets with his strong work ethic and military training. For many he is the first face of WOIC seen as he sits, listens and directs many who might need a word of advice, a leg-up or specific training to succeed.

Recently, Mr. Shell gave a reporter an inspiring statement on the life of the late Gerald Lamb, our city’s first elected black alderman and the first black elected state constitutional officer as State Treasurer. Shell noted Mr. Lamb’s concern and assistance to many young men in our city, and his inestimable advice on the importance of becoming productive citizens. The tradition of reaching back and uplifting others is continued by Elmore Shell. He is well known within the community and his judgment is highly respected.

Yes, Waterbury will be celebrating many events and one event is the Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee’s “Support our Troops” dinner on Wednesday May 21, where Mr. Shell is one of many honorees, all of whom have made a difference with their service and commitment.

We ring the bell for Mr. Shell and his veteran colleagues whose dedicated service makes us a very appreciative community. We cannot ring the bell enough…Carry on!

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