BRANFORD >> Myron Beaudin, a custodian in the Branford school system since 1970, probably won’t tell you that he’s a Mayflower descendant. Or that his great grandmother ran a hotel in Stony Creek in the roaring 1880s. Perhaps he’ll mention he’s lived his entire life in a house on Main Street that was the site of Branford’s first bakery. Perhaps not.
It’s safe to say, though, he’d shake his head when told he’s been called a role model for teachers, staff, and students alike. The amiable 64-year-old known as Beau to virtually everyone in town is not one to call attention to himself.
What’s certain is that he’d rather show you his collection of 1950s pop sensation Connie Francis albums, the autographed posters, the concerts he’s attended. Or about his CPR license from the Red Cross. Or about the garden he was tending last week in the back of his house. By then, just like every summer when the first day of school is rounding into view, the tomatoes were ripe and the eggplant, peppers, and rhubarbs weren’t far behind.
Asked why he enjoys gardening, Beau beamed. “So I can give what I grow to my friends,” he said.
That spirit of generosity is no surprise to principal Robin Goeler of Walsh Intermediate School, where Beau has worked since 1990. From keeping the school spotless, to helping move furniture and boxes, to taking care of lockers that aren’t working efficiently, “the gentle giant” and “the strongest person I ever met,” Goeler said, amid the hustle and bustle preceding the beginning of the school year, “is always thinking about contributing to the greater good.”
Ron Scarpa, who’s worked alongside Beau since 1994, agreed. It’s not just that the Branford native “would do anything for anyone,” said Scarpa, who had just finished buffing the floors to a gleam. Or that his honesty is so true that the staff routinely entrusts him with money for its lottery pool. Once, said Scarpa, Beau found $2,000 in cash in the trash. He returned it straightaway to the principal.
It’s that sense of quiet integrity that makes Beau an exemplar for staff and students alike, according to school nurses Nancy Noto and Jessica Paquette. It’s also his jovial, big-hearted spirit that has kids coming up to him around town to say hello years after they’ve graduated.
Beyond answering the call for “whatever needs to be done, whether it’s cleaning up messes or spills or making sure the pillow cases in the infirmary are changed,” Noto said, “Beau is always looking out for the kids, always checking in on us.”
Not to mention gifting them candy or lottery tickets for Christmas and Easter, Paquette added, as teachers filed past the nurses’ office to prepare their classrooms for the school year. And, said office administrator Betty Finnegan, generally recognized as the heart and soul of Walsh since she started full-time in 1980, being “the first one to remember your birthday or some special occasion and wish you well.”
Beau’s magnanimity doesn’t end within the bounds of the Intermediate School. For years, he appeared at 6 a.m. to assist Bob Esposito, owner of Branford Book & Card, in putting together newspapers. He still helps with snow removal and walking people out to their car at night.
“He reminds us what matters above all is being kind to each other,” said P.S. Fine Stationers’ Sal Esposito. “Every school — every town — should have a Beau.”
Even if, as Beau confessed on the eve of the first day of school, his favorite Connie Francis song is “Vacation.”