WESTFIELD - Life-long Westfield resident and former member of the Westfield Town Board Carl Vilardo Jr., was honored recently when the board voted unanimously to name a street after him.
At its meeting Wednesday, May 1, the board passed a resolution changing the name of Reid Road in the town of Westfield to Vilardo Road. Then, members of the community and Vilardo's family gathered on the corner of Walker Road and Vilardo Road on Thursday, May 9, to surprise him.
While the idea came from Vilardo's family, Town Supervisor Martha Bills and the entire board thought it was a wonderful way to honor Vilardo's 38 years as a board member as well as his place in the agricultural community, carrying on the tradition of the Vilardo family farm, which has operated in the same location for more than 100 years.
"It looks like it's always been there," Bills said when the new road sign was unveiled.
Quite a crowd was on hand to share in the celebration, including all but one member of the town board, current village of Westfield Mayor Michael VandeVelde and former mayor David Carr. Vilardo's wife, Roberta, succeeded in getting him out of the house without spoiling the surprise by convincing him to go grocery store with her.
"I think it's pretty nice, big surprise," Vilardo Jr. said. "It makes me feel real proud. (I am) happy that the town board considered it and thought it was worth doing."
"It's a great honor for him," Roberta Vilardo said. "He's overwhelmed."
Vilardo Jr. owns the land on both sides of the road, so it has been a family joke that they town should change the name of the road. Now that is has changed, the town of Westfield Highway Superintendent joked with Vilardo that he was now in charge of plowing and maintaining the road since it was his.
Bills read the resolution, No. 26 of 2013, at the ceremony and presented Vilardo with a plaque bearing the resolution. But the testament to a life of service and devotion to his community for all to see is the new road sign just over the railroad tracks on Walker Road that now bears Vilardo's name.