Meet a 100 year old Hamden man, utilizing the Digital Navigator program for free tech help

HAMDEN, Conn (WTNH) – Robert Muthersbaugh is learning to work a laptop.

He’s a World War II veteran, one that liberated Pilsen, Czechoslavakia with his unit.

He has stories you wouldn’t believe.

Now, he’s eager for online communication with his great-granddaughter and he wants to keep current on the crisis in Ukraine.

“I want to get up to date information about the war, yeah,” he says.

He’s 100 years old and not afraid to go technical.

“It’s not so much the challenge of learning something, you can learn at any age,” explains Robert Gagne, coordinator of the Digital Navigator program, happening at Hamden libraries. “The challenge is more being vulnerable, to being willing to learn it, willing to show up, willing to be present.”

The program is funded by the Connecticut State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“With Covid 19, it’s become very apparent how much of our lives is lived online digitally,” says Gagne. “What we’re doing is promoting digital inclusion and digital equity which is getting people caught up and bridging the digital divide.”

At the Brundage branch, a woman is learning how to video-chat with her son.

“They think their devices are made of glass, that they’ll break when they touch them. They just want a second set of eyes saying, ‘It’s OK, you’re doing the right thing,’” says Digital Navigator, Matt McGregor.

The Digital Navigators recently helped victims of the February fire in Hamden that displaced 40 people, getting them free devices, putting them back online.

“We want to be there to jump in and help where we can,” says Gagne.

The program, which will run through July, is about answering a need in the community.

Muthersbaugh is a wise elder. “My main secret is [to] treat everyone nicely like you want to be treated yourself.”

But, he isn’t finding the lessons easy. No matter, he’s ready for the challenge.

“At my age, I’m not through learning everything yet, so I want to learn about it and I’m happy I signed up for the program,” he says.

This isn’t just happening in Hamden, you can also utilize the program in Hartford, East Hartford and Stamford. For more information about the program, call 959-261-0689.

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