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Meyer Remains an Ol' Softie

Of all the boards, organizations and activities Bill Meyer is involved in, one of the most enjoyable is umpiring softball games. The 81-year-old still calls balls and strikes up to 15 times a year for girls ages 9 and 10-years old in the Westport Little League.

"I love the kids,'' Bill says. "I enjoy it and my thrust is to make sure everyone is happy. Even when a player strikes out, I don't yell strike three. When they strike out I just say 'I'm sorry, you're out.'"

Meyer has been umpiring games for 27 years, and was an umpire while he ran the league in the 1990s. He has a field named after him and he was one of the figures that helped Westport to become the first town in New England to have softball affiliated with Little League in 1976.

"It keeps me young,'' says Meyer, who credits league vice president Steve Axthelm for continuing to improve the Westport league. "I like to keep it fun. Happy players don't always win, but happy players always have fun." Players enjoy Meyer's mannerisms – he says "Deuces wild" on a 2-2 count with two outs – and he introduces young umpires working the bases to the fans. "I want to leave a good impression,'' Meyer says.

Working as an umpire is a small segment of Meyer's dedication to the town. He is a six-term RTM member and the chairman of the RTM Parks and Recreation Committee. He serves on eight boards in town, is active with three groups in Bridgeport and mentors a 13-year-old boy. He's also heavily involved in the Saugatuck Congregational Church. With all his various activities, it'd be easy for Meyer to give up softball, but he won't. "I just love the kids,'' he says.

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