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    Saturday, June 10, 2023

    Thank you: Anthony Nolan and Marilyn Graham

    Emcee Anthony Nolan dances as performers in the 9th New London Talent Show take the stage for the curtain call Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the Garde Arts Center. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    Executive Director Marilynn Graham reacts to seeing the new sign Marilyn Graham Way as held by New London Mayor Michael Passero during an open house for a HOPE Inc. home at 78 Belden Street Tuesday, May 2 2023. The city dedicated the street to Graham, who is retiring from the non-profit that renovates home for low to moderate-income families. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Those who dedicate themselves to serving their communities are gifts to all of us. New London recently celebrated the gift of service from two outstanding individuals: Anthony Nolan and Marilyn Graham.

    Nolan and Graham served the city and region in different ways and both enriched the community. Graham dedicated her career to providing affordable housing to low-income homeowners. Nolan spent more than two decades serving city residents, most notably its young people, as a police officer. Graham is now retiring after 34 years as executive director of HOPE, Inc., while Nolan has retired after more than 23 years as a city police officer. He will continue to serve the city as a state legislator.

    Graham was honored earlier this month during an open house at 78 Belden St., which will soon be the home of a low-income, first-time homebuyer. Since 1989, HOPE, and Graham, have been in the business of renovating old houses in the city and selling them to low- and moderate-income residents. HOPE has overseen renovations and construction of more than 30 homes in the city.

    Belden Street, the location of many HOPE houses, will also soon be marked with a street sign designating it as “Marilyn Graham Way,” a fitting tribute to the woman who worked tirelessly to help transform the area.

    During her final open house, Graham said it was especially rewarding to know that HOPE houses were going to worthy families who appreciated them and demonstrated great pride of ownership.

    Nolan’s path to the police department began when he was a high school student in Massachusetts. A Black Massachusetts state police officer who was the father of a friend mentored Nolan and inspired him to choose law enforcement as his career.

    Nolan paid that mentorship forward many times over as he served for numerous years as a school resource officer in New London. Nolan said during that time, he always made his phone number available to parents, who often called him to discuss concerns they had about their children. Nolan also started the Impact Youth program and for years was involved in the New London Talent show that showcased New London and suburban youths’ dancing, singing and other talents at the Garde Arts Center.

    Nolan recently told a Day reporter that his instinct as a police officer was to strive to solve problems rather than make arrests. “My goal wasn’t always to arrest them first,” he said. “It was to help solve the situation and find the root issue of what was going on.”

    His style of policing was not universally supported, he said, and he no doubt faced tough criticism from his department colleagues when, as a legislator, he supported the state’s Police Accountability Bill. The legislation removed qualified immunity that had provided police officers with protection against civil lawsuits stemming from their police actions.

    While Nolan’s views about policing and his actions as an officer on the streets may have set him apart from many of his fellow officers, his approachable nature and his wide smile endeared him to most in New London. He earned city residents’ respect and New London will continue to benefit from his work at the state Capitol.

    We congratulate both Graham and Nolan on their distinguished careers of service. They touched the lives of many in positive and New London can take deep pride in their actions.

    The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Timothy Dwyer, Executive Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser, retired executive editor Tim Cotter and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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