Troy Clarkson

Kevin FitzGerald is a connector.

A thinker, introducer, doer and force for good in our community, Kevin has learned how to use his many relationships in many segments of our community to simply connect people to do good things. That concept sounds so simple, but it is actually both a rarity and critically needed in today’s disconnected, communicate-by-a-handheld-device society.

Bestselling author and social commentator Malcolm Gladwell gives a more specific meaning to calling people like Kevin “connectors.” He notes in his book, “The Tipping Point,” that connectors are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack for making acquaintances.” He further explains that their ability to connect others and make things happen is due to “their ability to span many different worlds, is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.” With that description, it is clear that Kevin is a connector. In addition to his volunteer work as a member of the board of Falmouth’s hometown baseball team, the Falmouth Commodores, Kevin and his wife, Nancy, provide shelter for local students who need a place to live and support many local charities.

So when Kevin reached out to me with a topic for a column, I knew that this connector had something to share. He provided me information on the son of a former colleague of his wife who has made some movies and seen some success as a film director. The Falmouth connection was there. He shared that the director is now working on a film that examines an important issue with a local angle. The film, “Black Ice,” explores the impact of a rash of suicides on an affluent Massachusetts community and how the community responds. The film’s writer, Jake Miskin, is now sponsoring an event to raise both funds ad awareness for The Samaritans, a leading provider of suicide-prevention services. Kevin has seen his share of suicide, including members of his own family, so he is also passionate about this connection. On February 26 from 6:30 to 9 PM, “Bowling on Black Ice” will occur at Howling at the Moon at Patriot Place. All proceeds will benefit The Samaritans. More information is available at: www.eventbrite.com/e/bowling-on-black-ice-samaritans-of-boston-tickets-89361060337

This was a great connection. And like a true connector, Kevin’s connection led me to another Falmouth connector. “Black Ice”’s director is Clenet Verdi-Rose, a Falmouth native who moved to Los Angeles in 2005 and has enjoyed significant success in the film industry, directing several award-winning films. His mom, Peg Verdi, is a connector herself. A longtime educator and volunteer in Falmouth before also moving to California, Peg was one of Falmouth’s leading connectors during her long and meaningful tenure with the Falmouth Public Schools and her volunteer work throughout the community. Her boundless energy and commitment to multi-media learning for students and adults alike rightfully earned her a reputation as one of Falmouth’s finest citizens. She surely possesses Gladwell’s important qualifications of sociability and energy, and is surely a connector.

Clenet has excelled in his role as a film director. Examples of his work can be found on his website at www.clenetverdirose.com. From television commercials to feature films to fun food videos with celebrity chefs and kids, this immensely talented storyteller is making Falmouth proud. His 2014 film, “Sand Castles,” won 13 awards, including many for best feature film, at film festivals all over the world. His important and relevant work is not only entertaining audiences, it is raising important issues for our collective consideration and action. His work on “Black Ice” is the latest project getting us to think, and hopefully to connect. Films entertain. Relevant films entertain and teach. Truly important films entertain, teach and get us to think. Clenet Verdi-Rose already has a couple of those on his filmmaking résumé. He is a connector, as well.

Kevin summed up his connector role in a simple way. “To feel good, do good,” he noted, sharing an oft-referenced psychological phenomenon that encapsulates his outlook on life. He’s right. Kevin’s role as a connector led me to the feel-good story of his friend Peg Verdi who is a connector, which led me to the amazing work of her son, Clenet Verdi-Rose, who connects people all over the world. Stories like that may be shared via social media, but they are understood, they are felt when shared from person to person.

Do good. Feel good. Be a connector.

Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at votetroy99@aol.com and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.

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