Town employees lined the streets to pay respect to Troiano.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Last week, the Westwood community lost a cherished member known for his dedicated service to the Westwood Department of Public Works, where he was employed for twenty-five years. Billy Troiano, who was most recently a senior foreman with the department, passed away due to complications of COVID-19 on January 27.
To honor his memory, there was a procession line on Wednesday afternoon, consisting of both outside communities and Westwood employees. The outside communities gathered at Thurston Middle School, where Westwood PD eventually situated them along Route 109, while Westwood was represented by over twenty DPW vehicles, as well as the Police and Fire Department. But to understand how far Troiano’s reach was, it should be noted that in the middle of winter, the library staff, the town hall staff and more town employees lined the streets to show their respect.
“There were a lot of teary eyes and a lot of people who came out to show what Billy meant to them,” DPW Director Todd Korchin explained. “It was really special. One of the most special moments I’ve seen with respect to any procession line of that nature.”
Korchin said that while there will likely be some sort of tribute in the future, that was not the DPW’s first priority. Instead, their first priority was taking care of Billy’s family, with whatever kind of help they needed.
“As far as our priorities, number one from the department and the town standpoint is just making sure that Billy’s family is doing well and that we are there for them and that we will make sure we are always there for them. Within the Department of Public Works and town-wide, that is everybody’s priority right now. Moving forward, as time goes on, we certainly have all decided there will definitely be a rightful tribute of some sort for Billy. I think the DPW will come up with something, obviously making it as inclusive as possible for those that want to attend, but as of right now the priority is simply making sure his wife and children are in a good spot, and that we’re there for them no matter what they need.”
To that end, a GoFundMe for Billy's family was established with a goal of raising fifteen thousand dollars for the family to deal with medical expenses, funeral expenses, or any other issues they may have. As of the writing of this article, that GoFundMe currently has over $13,000 donated to it.
How important was Billy to Westwood? Even though he was out of work for two weeks before the snowstorm over February 2 and 3, it was still a very difficult storm for the DPW to tackle without him, because of how pivotal Trioano was to the operation. What did Troiano do? A whole lot of everything, which explains how he was so well known in Westwood.
“He was essentially responsible for all the day-to-day operations within the department itself. Coordinating each of the individuals within the highway department - what they are going to do from a work order standpoint - daily. Managing, and to some degree really directing, the whole snow and ice operations for winter storms. He was always really the point-person for the department, and really the point-person for the department in the day-to-day operations out in the field. He was just one of those guys that very much had his hands in all facets of public works. Typically, everything thrives off of what our highway department is doing. It’s the largest staffed, as far as numbers go and there’s a lot of crossover. Billy, as the senior foreman, is typically that point-person who would dictate who goes where daily and what job assignments are distributed.”
But while the town will miss his work ethic and abilities, the people who knew him will miss a friend. Korchin talked about how at 21 years old, Billy Troiano showed him how to operate machinery - machinery he had never sat in and didn’t know how to start, never mind operate.
“The key word I’d like to stress with respect to Billy was how instrumental he was to the department, yes, but also how loyal, dedicated and devoted he was - most importantly to his family, but also to our entire department, and all the staff. He truly was not just a coworker, he was very much a friend and someone I, and everyone else in town, had a great respect for.”