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Holland honors the century of Robert Wilson


Civic-minded resident is honored on 100th birthday



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Robert Wilson (far left) proudly stands with other firefighters outside the Holland Fire Station he helped build in the early 1950s. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
July 14, 2010
HOLLAND — For three days while on a boat to the United States from Stone Bridge County, Ireland in the early 20th century, 4-year-old Robert Wilson's parents believed their son had fallen overboard and drowned.

When they docked near Boston, however, the Wilsons found young Robert had not perished, but instead had become an unofficial crewmember. He had spent those three anxious days below decks eating and living it up with the sailors.

That mischievous little boy would grow up to be a civic-minded, self-reliant man, who would serve as one of the first firefighters and police chiefs in the town of Holland.

This past Fourth of July, Wilson was surrounded by family and friends from all over the East Coast to celebrate his 100th birthday.

"He's had more birthday parties in his life than anyone I know," said Marilyn Gibson, one of Wilson's four daughters.

At a meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, July 13, Chairman James Wettlaufer presented Wilson with certificates of recognition from the state Senate and House of Representatives, as well as a plaque from the town and a commemorative pin from the Massachusetts Intermunicipal Insurance Agency that is only given to centenarians who have served their community in some capacity.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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