By Owen Canfield
Prime Time House of Torrington had tables set up near the entrance to the Oliver Wolcott Tech gymnasium Monday afternoon. Inside the gym, a large crowd was getting noisy. The volleyball game involved Tech and Lewis Mills High School. Mills would win the game, which was billed as a “green-out game,’’ 3-1.
It was a league game and a fund raiser to benefit Prime Time House, which, for the past 25 years, has worked to rehabilitate people battling mental illness in Litchfield County. Prime time is one of only two such facilities in the state and there are, relatively, very few of them in the world.
This event was a success, I can tell you. While no exact figure was immediately available, donations and the sale of raffle tickets, water and popcorn produced upwards of $500. Also, three large boxes of vitally needed toiletries were collected.
My original purpose in driving to Wolcott Tech was to watch Coach Rene Williams’ baseball team against Classical Magnet, a contest eventually settled in the last of the seventh, Tech winning, 6-5.
But almost immediately after arriving, I bumped into security chief Mark Pollutro, who, when I told him I hoped to talk to athletic director Ray Tanguay, said pleasantly, “Ray’s with the volleyball team in the gym. Come on, I’ll take you over.’’
Tanguay, who started the volleyball program 15 years ago, has been head coach for the past nine years. His chief assistants are Jack Farrington, who played for Tanguay four years ago and Jim Pepper. The team recently celebrated its 150th win.
“We put this (event) together working with the Mills coach, Damian Coggshall and with Prime Time,’’ said the coach/AD.
Tangway, who teaches drafting at OWTS, has a personal interest in dealing with the mentally ill. He grew up in Prospect with two younger siblings, Rose Marie and Rob, now, like him, both very successful. His father, a machinist, is 70 and retired. His mother, Mary, is in Pleasant View Manor in Watertown.
“My mother successfully raised the three of us, though she is schizophrenic paranoiac, bi-polar and a hypochondriac,’’ Tanguay said.
I chatted for a few minutes with Holland-born Jim MacGillavry, a rehabilitation councilor at state-funded P.T. House who has worked there since 2000. He said the headquarters at 810 Main Street is referred to as “the clubhouse,’’ and that basically, the job of a councilor is “working with people in recovery from mental illness. We don’t use terms like client or patient.’’
The green-out game was one of seven programs scheduled through the end of June. An art show reception was held Friday at Douglas Library and the next event, on June 1, will be a craft and tag sale at the Cornucopia Banqueting Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 1. A web site, primetimehouse.org, provides comprehensive information on the organization. Executive director s Lisa Lynch.
The Wolcott Tech sports programs continue to gain ground. When I asked the AD “what’s new,’’ he said, well, a new softball field is in use, right next to the baseball field. Jen Stango and Jamie Coty coach the girls’ softball team. The two also work together in varsity football. Coty is head coach and Stango is an assistant, the first woman to coach high school football in the state.
“You may remember,’’ Tanguay said, “Jen also plays full contact women’s football.’’
Quite a place, Wolcott Tech.