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Serving Weston Gives Gilbert a 'Good Feeling'

WESTON, Conn. – Dan Gilbert's parents taught him to "tell the truth, be honest and be a good person," he said. He tries to teach those values to his children, Mary Katherine and Craig.

"I show them by how I try to live my life – making sure they know I believe government is important. We can make everyone's life a little bit easier if we respect them," said Gilbert. He has served on Weston's Board of Selectmen since 2009 and is running for first selectman in November.

"I get a good feeling when I pledge allegiance to the flag, turn around and sit down and reach out and try to help people," said Gilbert.

He moved to Weston from New Jersey when he was offered a job at GE corporate staff as a consultant. He wanted to raise his children in a "quaint, small school system." Weston was the last town his Realtor showed him.

"I loved it. It's very green, an hour-and-a-half from the city, 20 minutes to GE. The top 15 students went to great schools – [which meant] students could go to the schools they wanted to go to."

He and his wife, Sharon, and their two kids moved to Weston in 1986. When Gilbert retired in 2003, he decided to find out what Weston was really like. Just before his retirement, he joined the Planning and Zoning Commission – "the place to be" if you really like the town, he said. He served on that commission from 2003 to 2009.

Gilbert grew up in Scranton, Pa., where he hunted and fished as a kid. Gilbert, an only child, remembers coming home from the Army the day before he told his mom he would arrive. "I remember going to the front door ... I'll never forget that ... it was the warmest embrace I've ever had in my life," said Gilbert. He said he remembers thinking he was lucky to have gone to Germany instead of Vietnam and survived. "It didn't happen to me ... there was a lot of emotion in that moment."

Gilbert enjoys reading American political history, staying close to his family and volunteering in Weston. He is a member of the Kiwanis, where he helps split wood for Weston's WarmUp Fund and collect food for Weston's Food Pantry. He volunteers with St. Francis of Assisi Church, working with AmeriCares projects in Weston and Bridgeport, and serves food to Weston seniors twice a month at the Norfield Church. And he volunteers with the Westport Weston Health District Medical Reserve Corps.

"You find time for things that are important to you. The day we die, we will still have a list of things we want to get done," said Gilbert.

Gilbert received his bachelor's degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University, his MBA in management from the University of Scranton, his master's in personnel psychology from Columbia University and his doctorate in educational psychology from Fordham University.

The Daily Weston is profiling each of the candidates in the 2011 elections. You can find our stories here .

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