Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Michele Ayoub

Michele Ayoub has been donating Mother’s Day tulips to Staying Put in New Canaan members since the start of the pandemic, according to the popular nonprofit organization. A mom who appreciated the support she received from neighbors during her pregnancy and baby-rearing, Ayoub began growing the flowers as Mother’s Day gifts for those same neighbors, as well as family and friends, and even threw a “tulip party,” according to Gina Blum, executive director of Staying Put. 

The annual yield is now up to some 3,000 to 4,000 tulips “that she plants every year and during COVID she did not have the party, so she found Staying Put in New Canaan and other organizations who deliver them to seniors, and she continued with us each year,” Blum said by way of nominating Ayoub for the “Quiet Heroes” series. Founded in 2008, Staying Put in New Canaan helps local seniors live independent, active and engaged lives as they grow older. (The organization’s “Summer Soirée” will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 at Waveny House—details and tickets here.)

According to Robin Bates-Mason, Staying Put’s manager of events and volunteers, the organization gets calls from its members thankful for the flowers. “They’re so appreciative of it and how pretty and unique they [the tulips] are,” Bates-Mason said.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Scarlett MacAllister

Though New Canaan’s Scarlett MacAllister, 13, was just three weeks old when she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis—a rare, genetic, life-threatening disease that makes it difficult to breathe—the condition has never defined her, according to those who know her best. Instead, said Sheena DiMatteo, head coach of MacAllister’s company team at New Canaan Dance Academy, the teen not only shines as a highly gifted dancer but also as a support to those around her, exuding qualities of ambition, leadership and generosity. “I feel Scarlett really is a well-rounded person in that she is very ambitious and she does have individual goals that she works very hard to achieve,” DiMatteo told NewCanaanite.com by way of nominating MacAllister for the “Quiet Heroes” series. “But in the same breath, she is the number one supporter of all the dancers around her. She will be the first one to show up at a competition early to make sure that she supports her teammates and doesn’t miss their performance and helps kids go on stage that have never even competed before.”

Those who know MacAllister from the Forest Street studio are “inspired by her talent, dedication, abilities and team spirit,” DiMatteo said.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Mose Saccary

About 15 years ago, Public Works Director Tiger Mann recalls, the annual Fishing Derby in New Canaan had to be halted because Mill Pond desperately needed to be dredged. 

Once that was done, it was Mose Saccary, the town’s highway superintendent, who called on municipal workers to resurrect the beloved family-friendly event. “This thing wouldn’t happen without him,” Mann said of the Fishing Derby, to be held Saturday at Mill Pond. Anglers can register online or starting at 8 a.m. on April 20 at the pond, the derby starts at 8:30 a.m. (Emails used to register will not be used to sign people up for town email blasts or other unwanted subscriptions, officials confirmed). A Center School alumnus and 1978 New Canaan High School graduate, Saccary “has been working here his entire life in various capacities for the Highway Department,” Mann said. “And I don’t think anybody cares more to be quite honest,” he continued, by way of nominating Saccary for the “Quiet Heroes” series.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Mike Socci

Robin Rockafellow has lived in New Canaan since 1964, and though she’s had positive interactions with the Fire Department in the past, last Tuesday was the first time she recalls meeting Capt. Mike Socci. An early riser (4:30 a.m.), Rockafellow heard her garbage truck around 5:30 a.m. and then heard a “boom” as if something had struck the house, though gently. “So I came downstairs, and the security lights were on over the garage, and I saw the truck pulling out, and I didn’t see anything,” Rockafellow told NewCanaanite.com. “So I went back to read and around 10 o’clock I went out to do some errands and I noticed this wire lying in my driveway. And I had done morning prayer on Zoom on my iPad, so I knew the Internet was working and my lights and everything were working.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Jim Davis

For New Canaan’s Laura Ault, Jim Davis is “the very definition of a good neighbor.”

Davis and his wife, Sally, “have lived in New Canaan for years, and Jim gets up very early on weekend mornings to pick up trash on our road from end to end, wearing a reflective safety vest,” Ault told NewCanaanite.com by way of nominating her neighbor for the Quiet Heroes of New Canaan series. 

Located in northwestern New Canaan, Greenley Road zig-zags east-west between West Road and Ponus Ridge. Zoned for two acres, it has 32 residences on it, according to municipal tax records, as well as 18 acres of open space, including undeveloped parcels protected by the New Canaan Land Trust. 

According to the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society’s street name database, the road “takes its present name from mid-nineteenth century residents who spelled their surname ‘Greenly.’ The road appears on maps and in deeds as Greenly Avenue or Greenly Road until the 1920’s when the third ‘e’ somehow was acquired. The old Greenley farm was long known as ‘Indian Cave Farm,’ because artifacts found in a cave on the property seemed to indicate that the cave once had been used as a shelter by Indians.”

Ault said in her nomination letter: “I really hope he won’t mind the public recognition—I don’t think he cleans up our street to be known for it. He just seems to have a sincere sense of propriety and responsibility, and he’s definitely the nicest guy on Greenley Road, if not the world.”

[Editor’s Note: This is a new installment of our periodic “Quiet Heroes” series. We’re accepting nominations for it, see guidelines here.]