Written by Michael Rouleau
Charles Wynn (left) being presented the 2013-2014 Citizen of the Year Award at the Elks Lodge's Irish Night on March 8, 2014.
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University Chemistry Professor Charles Wynn has been named 2014 Citizen of the Year by the Willimantic Elks Club. Wynn earned this award for his commitment to community service and leadership roles in volunteer organizations.
Wynn got his first taste of volunteering in the late 1960s as a Peace Corps volunteer, when he spent two years in Malaysia as a science education lecturer at the Malayan Teachers College in Penang. "Through volunteering you meet exceptional people; the types of people you didn't even know existed," said Wynn. "Those people and experiences with them expand your perspective of the world."
Wynn's causes include working with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, supporting cancer patients and serving those afflicted with blindness. "I consider myself a very fortunate person. I volunteer because I want to give back," said Wynn. "As John F. Kennedy said, 'Of those to whom much is given, much is required.'"
Wynn is involved with numerous charitable organizations locally, regionally and at Eastern. Some of his roles include being the long-time meet director of the Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet; president of the Greater Windham Unit of the American Cancer Society; former member of the Board of Directors of Camp Horizons; and past president of the Willimantic Lions Club.
"There is nothing more influential in changing people's behavior than a good role model," said Wynn. "If you want people to change for the better, show them the way, don't tell them." In the words of Fred Lebeau, one of Wynn's greatest role models and fellow member of the Lions Club, "I want to leave the wood pile with more in it than when I found it."