The Alves Award dinner, in honor of Thomas G. Traver, will be conducted at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 14 at the Watertown Golf Club.
Tickets for the dinner, priced at $35, will be available at both libraries, or you may call Susan Atkins at 274-8834 or Susan Santopietro at 274-3284.
Tom Traver is a native of Watertown. Raised on the east side of Oakville, he graduated from Falls Avenue School (now our Senior Center), South School and Watertown High School. He was an honor student and lettered in both track (sprints and relay) and soccer in high school. He was invited to the Connecticut Open Track Meet at Yale University and played right wing for the high school's soccer team which participated in the state tournament. Mr. Traver was a class officer for three years, student council member for four years, president of the debating team and attended the American Legion Boy's State in 1949 at Choate School, Wallingford.
Mr. Alexander Alves was one of two gentlemen who wrote letters of recommendation for Mr. Traver to attend UConn. Mr. Alves and Mr. Traver's father, AI Traver Sr., served together on Watertown's Board of Education.
Mr. Traver graduated from UConn as a Distinguished Military Graduate, commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army and called to active duty. His roommate at UConn was his high school classmate, Henry Eykelhoff, who became the UConn soccer team co-captain and an Olympic alternate.
Mr. Traver served his country as a career Army officer for 21 years, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. He served in France, Germany, Korea, Vietnam, 11 states and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Among his many decorations, Mr. Traver was awarded the Legion of Merit for service in Vietnam. This is the same award that Gen. Eisenhower received for the North African invasion in WWII. Mr. Traver and wife of 53 years, Arline, also a Watertown native, moved 21 times and raised three successful sons. Their son Chris, a trauma surgeon, was Valedictorian at the Taft School, Class of 1980.
During his Army service, Mr. Traver was selected to attend the University of Alabama for his master's degree (MBA). While there the University of Alabama was college football's National Champions in 1964 and 1965. Joe Namath was a Jr./Sr. and Kenny Stabler was a Fr./So. as the third string quarterback. A backup quarterback, Steve Sloan, came in at the half each home game and won them all for Namath and the University of Alabama.
After retiring from active service, Mr. Traver returned to Watertown to help in managing the family business, Traver Electric Motor Co. His brother, Jack Traver, the owner, was elected as your 68th district state representative and he needed some help running his business. Jack Traver served one term in Hartford, while Mr. Traver stayed at Traver Electric for 21 years.
While working at Traver Electric, Mr. Traver began his volunteer service in Watertown. He served for 16 years, first on the Conservation Commission/Inland Wetlands Agency and later on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Traver is a certified UConn advanced master gardener, volunteering well over 100 hours mentoring master gardener interns at UConn's Litchfield County Extension Service office in Torrington.
He also volunteers both at Torrington and Fairfield County's Bethel offices answering gardening questions. In addition, his outreach volunteering includes manning exhibit booths at several fairs and conducting talks at several venues.
As a member of the Watertown Garden Club, Mr. Traver has volunteered his time to the enhancement of the landscaping at both Swift Junior High and Polk School - pulling weeds, pruning and mulching.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division, has designated Mr. Traver as a Master Wildlife Conservationist.
As a member of the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Mr. Traver has volunteered over the last two years in researching and inventorying the center's vernal pools. The center has over 200 vernal pools. Vernal pools are specialized temporary wetlands essential for the lives of certain frogs and salamanders plus a haven for many other wildlife species.
As a member of the Friends of the Watertown Library, he volunteers time working at the Book Nook selling used books and assisting customers.
Mr. Traver is supporting member of the Watertown Historical Society, Watertown Foundation, Watertown Land Trust, Life Member of the VFW Post 7330, American Legion Post 195, Connecticut Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club and others.
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