Bill Stanley honored with Crawford Award

Groton — Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Capital Campaign Chairman Dan Brannegan remembers sitting in a meeting when Bill Stanley's phone rang, and Stanley picked it up. Brannegan thought it was unusual for his friend to take a call during a meeting, and so he inquired sometime later.

Brannegan found out a man had a medical emergency and was taken to a hospital elsewhere in the state, and his wife — a longtime friend of L+M — called Stanley, who then called the CEO of the other hospital.

"The CEO hung up the phone and went down to the emergency room and waited for the ambulance," Brannegan said, adding, "A [big] part of it was because he knew who Bill was."

The nature of who Stanley is, friends and colleagues say, can be found in personal day-to-day gestures.

"The individual contacts that are out of the limelight, I think, are the best examples of what Bill is really about," Mark Powers, a former state legislator, told The Day.

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut honored Stanley with the William Crawford Distinguished Service Award at the Mystic Marriott on Wednesday evening, in a dinner that drew hundreds of attendees.

Stanley is the vice president of development and community relations at Lawrence + Memorial, where he has worked since 1999.

"He is Mr. L+M, no two ways about it," longtime volunteer and hospital supporter Naomi Rachleff said.

New L+M President Patrick Green recalls that his first interaction with Stanley was at an event at Spicer Mansion, and that to make sure he was prepared, Stanley sent him "a novel on probably everybody in this room."

His encyclopedic knowledge of community leaders has come from his involvement in numerous organizations: Stanley also has served on the chamber board of directors for 20 years, and on the campaign cabinet of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut for 13. He now sits on the board of the Three Rivers Community College Foundation.

Stanley previously had a career in journalism at The Day and The Norwich Bulletin.

Ulysses Hammond, a former Crawford Award recipient, fondly recalled time spent with Stanley watching baseball, having scotch nights, sitting on community boards and, above all else, playing golf.

After several playful jabs at his friend, Hammond said seriously, "One of the things about Bill is that despite differences or the diversity of our community, we all have seen his enormous joy in bringing people together."

e.moser@theday.com

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