NARRAGANSETT—Throughout the years, Charles “Ted” Wright has been everything in Narragansett, from a town councilman to a successful local businessman. His nickname, “Mr. Narragansett,” attests to the relationships that Wright has developed within the town. In recognition of his importance to Narragansett, the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce has selected Wright as the 2012 recipient of the James M. Kelso Community Service Award.
“It is very humbling to have this all of the sudden happen,” said Wright. “I enjoy doing what I do and, when I don’t, I just change it, and so far I have gotten away with it. I have started the Narragansett Rubbish Removal and now I have my trolley company.”
“I have been able to start these things with people who have been very nice to me, and it has been great,” he added. “It has been a great run for 81 years, and I’ve been with the same girl for 62 of them, so I look back and say that I really am the luckiest guy.”
Wright and his family have been rooted in Narragansett since the mid-1800s, when his grandfather traveled from Ireland via Wales and Savannah, Georgia, to settle in town working on the plantation land in the area. His father was born on Blossom Way when there was a farm there and not a residential area, and Wright himself has been plying his many trades throughout his lifetime, all within the borders of Narragansett.
“Narragansett is very unique, I am prejudiced as a third generation in this town,” said Wright. “Show me another place as neat as Narragansett and I don’t know if you’d find it. We’ve invited people from all over the world to this town, and I have made my living on it.”
Wright also recalled the many people that he has met along the way, influencing his perspective and approach towards life in a small, coastal community and its impact in surrounding communities, as well as on a state-wide level.
“People who I have met, grown up with, and respected are just amazing,” said Wright. “I met an awful lot of very rich people and all the senators there were nice to a guy picking up their rubbish on Ocean Road.”
“I met a tremendous amount of people through the General Assembly as well, and it has just been a very interesting life for a guy who started his first business picking up garbage in someone’s backyard,” he added.
Besides being an elected state official town councilman and sergeant, Wright has served as on a number of local organizations, such as the Narragansett Lions Club, Towers Committee, and the Narragansett Historical Society. He has also committed himself to the construction and completion of multiple town projects, namely the ‘Welcome to Narragansett’ sign at the Dillon rotary, as well as raising funds for benches to be installed along the sea wall.
Wright, who will be honored at the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, considers himself proud to be mentioned in the same breath as another important town son, James Kelso.
“When you meet people like Jimmy Kelso, someone who is very outgoing, and become friends and he follows you after a couple of years in the General Assembly, promoting the area you’ve fallen in love with, that is the kind of representative I like,” said Wright. “It is a very positive thing. Anybody who gets this award, look back at this guy who believed in his town, and that is what this award is all about.”
Kelso, a former State Representative and managing partner of the Coast Guard House restaurant, was a significant leader and 25-year resident in South County. He initiated many service events and construction projects in Narragansett, and was also integral to the success of groups such as the Narragansett Lions Club.
The award dinner will be held at Spain’s Restaurant in Narragansett on October 23rd.