It was a touching moment at the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting on May 15. State Representative Sean Scanlon (D-98) and the board paused to present two proclamations honoring community figure Arthur “Bud” Benson, who passed away in December 2016.
Benson, who moved to Guilford in 1972, served as a Little League baseball coach; on commissions for the Parks & Recreation, Public Works, and Police departments; and on the committees for transportation and the police facility building. Benson was an active member of the Republican Town Committee and co-chairman of its election headquarters. His later service to town included serving as chairman for the Board of Ethics, volunteering at the Guilford Food Bank, and serving as a land steward for the Guilford Land Conservation Trust.
At the meeting, Scanlon presented Benson’s widow, Mary Louise Benson, who was a public school teacher in town, with a proclamation from the state honoring Arthur Benson’s contribution to the community. While Scanlon said he did not know Benson well, he said you didn’t have to know him to recognize his contributions.
“As a boy who grew up here in Guilford, the path that I now am on in terms of public service was paved by people like your husband who did so much for our town, so much for what it is today, and for what it will always be,” he said. “I am just here to say thank you in his memory.”
First Selectman Joe Mazza presented an additional proclamation on behalf of the Board of Selectmen in celebration of Benson’s life and in recognition of his service to the town, community, and church. Mazza said Benson was a good personal friend to him and he is missed.
“When I first got started in public service back in 1993, when I first ran for the Board of Finance, I called up Bud and I remember one Sunday afternoon it was getting very close to election day and I said, ‘Bud I am thinking of going out and campaigning and standing in front of First National,’ and he said, ‘Stay home, people have seen enough of you,’” Mazza said. “I took his advice—It was that kind of relationship and the only thing we didn’t have in common was our baseball teams. Bud was an avid baseball fan, but unfortunately he was a Red Sox fan.”
Mary Louise Benson, who joked with Mazza about his devotion to the Yankees and light-heartedly said that she takes credit for all of Scanlon’s success as she taught him in school (a statement Scanlon agreed with), thanked everyone for recognizing her husband on behalf of herself and her four children.
“He always enjoyed the work he was able to do for the Town of Guilford and the friendships he made with the people he worked with,” she said. “This is wonderful and I have to say I know in the time he spent doing this, he enjoyed all of it and he enjoyed the people that he met and had great respect for them and so thank you very much.”