Five to be inducted Sept. 21 into the Milford Hall of Fame

The Milford Hall of Fame will hold its ninth annual Induction ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the South Hall of the Parson’s Government Complex.

The general public is welcome and refreshments will be served, courtesy of Stonebridge Restaurant.

Milford Hall of Fame Chair Joel Baldwin will host the 2016 induction ceremony. Baldwin, a former city mayor, will welcome current Mayor Ben Blake and special guest speaker Arthur Stowe, city historian, who will give brief remarks on the topic, “Preserving Milford: Telling our Story.”

After remarks, the plaques for the five 2016 inductees will be unveiled on the south hall walls at Parsons, where they will join plaques for previous inductees going back to 2008.

The five new inductees from 2016 include: Rutheva Baldwin Brockett, Charles Iovino, James Martin Maher, Frank H. Stevens and Charles Edward “Shang” Wheeler.

Brockett is among the more recent era Hall of Fame inductees, having lived from 1923 to 2001. A descendant of the founders of Milford, she was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), historian for the First Congregational Church and Milford’s first City Historian from 1988-1998. Also, Brockett published, “A Walking Tour of Milford,” co-authored the pamphlet, “Oystering in Milford,” and co-wrote the 350th anniversary update to the WPA’s "History of Milford, 1639-1939," when the years 1940 through 1989 were added as part of the city’s 350th celebration in 1989.

Another inductee is Charles R. Iovino, 1910-2009. Iovino was Milford’s city manager who was elected the city’s first mayor in 1959 when Milford converted to a mayor-aldermanic form of government. But what also made history was the fact that Iovino won the mayoralty as a write-in candidate by defeating both the Democratic and Republican nominees. He was a family man, WWII veteran, an active community leader and served as town manager of Norwich after declining to run for reelection in Milford in 1963.

James Martin Maher, 1865-1931, served as Milford's first superintendent (chief) of police, beginning in 1915. A family man, first generation Irish-American, and a chicken farmer, Maher effectively founded the Milford Police Department after the state authorized Milford's Board of Police Commissioners to hire the position in 1915. He is also infamously remembered for locking up his grandsons in the town’s jail for misbehaving.

Frank H. Stevens, 1870-1943, was named “foreman” of the Milford Fire Department in 1918, one year after the creation of the Board of Fire Commissioners in 1917. Under Chief Stevens’ leadership, the department grew. His was an interesting charge because although each fire station had paid firefighters, the majority of firemen in Milford were volunteers until the 1980s.

Last but not least of this year’s nominees is Charles Edward "Shang" Wheeler, 1872-1949. A former Boston seaman, Wheeler became a giant in the oyster industry in addition to serving as both a Connecticut state representative and state senator. Wheeler was a strong advocate for clean waters and the establishment of the federal Marine Fisheries Lab on Rogers Avenue. He was also an expert fly fisherman and duck hunter, his decoy duck carvings recognized internationally as among the world's best. The Charles E. Wheeler Wildlife Area off Milford Point is named in his memory.

There is no charge to attend the Sept. 21 Milford Hall of Fame induction event, which is sponsored by The Milford Bank.