2003 Honoree


David French is the kind of person who volunteers behind the scenes, doing things without fanfare.

He is a good citizen, said his friend Susan Ryan.

French, a dentist, has been a Sunday School teacher at Harwinton Congregational Church for more than 25 years, church youth group advisor for 25 years, president for two terms and chairman at one time or another of just about every committee of the Harwinton Lions Club. For the Lions, he has chaired the organization’s scholarship committee for dozens of years and organized its Christmas food basket distribution for 27 years.

He’s also served as president of the Litchfield County Dental Society five times and been chairman of all of its committees at one time or another.

For his years of volunteer service to the community, French has been named the recipient of the 2003 Arthur B. Poole Award. The well-known award is given annually to someone who best exemplifies the qualities of public service and good citizenship.

“I’m really excited about this. I’ve known him for years. He’s done a fantastic job with the youth group,” said Ryan, who is also chairman of this years award committee.

Another church member, Jane Golec, nominated French for the award, detailing his Lions Club and church activities, as well as his service to the Region 10 school district and the Litchfield County and Connecticut Dental Association Council of Dental Care, the Poole Committee itself< and his latest effort, the T.A. Hungerford Memorial Library and Museum Board of Directors.

French, and his wife Merrill, an artist live on Hill Road where they raised 2 daughters – Lisa, assistant to the undergraduate academic dean of Brooklyn College, and Julia, on staff f Price Waterhouse Cooper. His dental office is on Route 118 at the foot of Hill Road.

“Volunteering is my Sctick”, French said. “Because I have a dental practice, I can’t give a whole lot of time. My two major areas of interest are the Lions Club and Harwinton Congregational Church,” he said. “I was Lions President twice and gone through all the chairs.”

The Lions Club gave him its highest honor, the Melvin Jones Fellowship, in 1992. To receive the award, he had to be nominated by his own group, which also had to donate $1,000 to the Lions Club International Foundation in his name.

French is proudest of his permanent chairmanship of the Lions Scholarship Committee. The organization gives three $1,5000 scholarships each year to graduating seniors. The other permanent chairmanship he has is the food basket effort.

“The Lions Club is a good way to give back to the community. I work with other Harwintonians toward goals to help out the town,” French said.

He pointed to the pavilion at the Harwinton Conservation Recreation Area and wheelchairs obtained for several people in town. “There’s a bit of a social aspect, also” he said.

At his church, French says he’s worked cooperatively with Founders Congregational Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, both in Harwinton, and Burlington Congregational Church over the years. There have been years when all three churches in town had one youth group, he said.

“I really believe that in a democratic society, volunteerism is the dues we pay. It’s the dues we pay for living in a free society,” French said. “Besides, I like doing it. I find it rewarding.”

French was raised in the Nichols section of Trumbull, a village-like community when he was growing up. After college (West Virginia Wesleyan) and dental school (West Virginia School of Dentistry) he came back to Connecticut looking for a small community in which to live and set up practice. The Trumbull area and the Nichols section had grown considerably so French found Harwinton.

Harwinton has a good school system and no dentist at the time, he said. So he started his practice from scratch.

For Photos

Harwinton Historical Society Scrapbook
Republican American Newspaper