By John Murray

Strongman athlete Derek Poundstone, left, and George Tirado Sr., the long time athletic director at Wilby High School, were both inducted into the Silas Bronson Library’s Waterbury Hall of Fame ysterday afternoon at a ceremony inside the Howland-Hughes Center on Bank Street in downtown Waterbury. Poundstone, at age 31, is the youngest member to be inducted into the Waterbury Hall of Fame, and Tirado is the first Hispanic. Also being inducted were choreographer Robert Haddad and manufacturer Eli Josiah Manville, both deceased.

Members of the Unity Dance Ensemble, the Connecticut Dance Theatre, and the Life Dance Company performed in honor of Robert Haddad who choregraphed productions that performed on Broadway and inside the White House.

Community activist Victor Cuevas broke down while reminiscing about playing baseball for George Tirado Sr. as a young boy in Waterbury. Cuevas said the two years he played on the Astros team were the happiest of his life. He said he and Tirado were like Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin. A former Astro teammate comforted Cuevas, and the former ball players went on to present Tirado with a jersey from the Astros team.

Marie Baskerville, a member of the Waterbury Hall of Fame committee, spoke about the accomplishment of Robert Haddad. Moments later, Haddad’s cousin, William L. Stevens, came to the podium to share a few personal memories. 

Hall of Fame committeee member Raechel Guest spoke about the significance of Eli Josiah Manville, who invented and manufactured machinery that made it possible to mass produce safety pins. Manvill died in 1886, but his impact has been felt across the globe.

Derek Poundstone, three times the winner of the title of America’s Strongest Man, spent two hours in the morning trying to write a speech, but threw it away and decided to speak from the heart. The former high school drop out who earned his GED from Waterbury Adult Education, and is now a sergeant in the Naugatuck PD, said he was humbled by the honor.