Humans of Granby 

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by Emma Smith
Father Thomas E. Ptaszynski
Age 70
Pastor at St. Therese Church
Tell about a powerful memory…
That is easy; it would be the day of my ordination into the priesthood, May 26, 1973. This was held at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford. It was the most important milestone in my life.
On a less serious note I do remember that I cut a mole on my lip early that morning. After the ceremony the priests then gave first blessings to their families and closest friends. The family members lined up for a few private moments with each new priest. At this ceremony it is customary for the newbies to embrace their close family members and kiss their female relatives. I was lucky to have marked each lady’s cheek with a little spot of blood from my lip so that I knew which ones I had finished talking with!
Tell about something you imagine happening in the future…
I believe that eventually priests will be able to get married. I also have hope that women will be able to become priests because I feel that while men tend to think/act logically, it is women who think/act with their hearts. Presently there is a synod forming with bishops who will discuss the concept of ordaining men who have established good reputations within their communities. It is likely that the topic of marriage will come up during these meetings.
I pray for more vocations and that the pope and bishops will open their eyes to the ordination of married priests. I fear that at mass we are going to lose our identity as leaders unless things begin to change.
Tell about something you would like to see happening in Granby…
I like Granby because to me it is purgatory. Purgatory is the closest thing to heaven on earth.
A wonderful woman named Mary Ann Wasil worked for me for many years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought courageously for her life. Mary Ann wrote an inspirational book called A Diary of Healing to share her story and insights with others going through such a crisis. Mary, 12 other professionals and myself founded the non-profit “Get in Touch Foundation” that informs the public about breast cancer issues. This program can be used in school systems to educate students in grades 5 through 8 about breast cancer. It includes a daisy wheel that shows the eight steps for breast exams. Recently the Connecticut Legislature made it mandatory for breast health education to be a part of every school curriculum in the state. I would be happy to share the “Get in Touch” program with the Granby schools and have reached out to Alan Addley, Superintendent of Schools about this.
Ben Florian
Age 17
Granby High School senior
Clerk at Grassroots Ice Cream
Robotics team member
Tell about a powerful memory…
I have just recently returned from a humanitarian trip to Fiji. My group members and I built bathrooms for the people in the remote village of Suvalialia that included flush toilets with proper plumbing. We were sponsored by the LDS Church; Humanitarian Experiences for Youth Association.
During our free time we were able to swim with black tip sharks. They did not like being touched by us but were much friendlier to the locals. Fortunately I was able to touch one and its skin felt like sandpaper.
The Fiji Rugby team won gold at the summer Olympics in Brazil so one day a television reporter came around to talk about this and also put our humanitarian group in front of the camera.
Tell about something that could happen in the future…
Someday I will invent something that will improve the world. Currently I am very interested in Nano technology which is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular and supra molecular scale, (think small). Nano technology involves computers but can be applied to many different fields. Recently scientists were actually able to cure a certain kind of cancer in mice with carbon nano tubes.
Tell about something that you would like to see happening in Granby…
I like the small town feel of Granby. I do wish we had air conditioning in the schools.
I especially enjoy fishing in my free-time on Manitook lake while sitting in a kayak. I wish there was a fishing club at the high school.
Danielle Sturgeon
Age 18
Sophomore at Bryant College; business management major
Market master for Granby farmer’s market
Tell about a strong memory…
I am the president of the Horticultural Club at Granby high school and help run the greenhouse there. One day a woman named Alicia Newton randomly showed up to visit our club. She is a nutritionist in town with the YMCA. She began talking about an idea called “food justice” that involves giving all people equal access to fresh, local food because some people, such as inner city families, are unable to obtain this. I told her I liked this initiative. Since then the organization has really taken off and it is now called “From the Ground Up.”
Tell about something you imagine happening in the future…
It is true that there are a lot of negative people in the world. I do see a wave of compassion forming though, especially with millennials. Although hate exists toward certain groups (in the world) my generation is more tolerant. As an example, we do not have cliques or bullying in my school. I truly haven’t experienced these things. I feel that people will get along better with each other in the future.
Tell about something you would like to see happening in Granby…
I envision a larger farmer’s market that runs year round. There is the problem, however, of small town politics when it comes to getting things accomplished here. Some farmers say they either don’t have the time for the market, just want to have their own farm store, etc. If these farmers and others could look to the greater good, a larger market would be possible. I am truly passionate about healthy food and making it easily available for as many people as possible.
If you would like to be considered for the Humans of Granby column or would like to suggest someone, send an email to