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Waterbury men pay tribute to their friendship with a billboard

WATERBURY -- Driving along the Mix Master in Waterbury, Connecticut, you’d expect to see the usual bumper to bumper traffic. That wasn’t entirely the case over the weekend when drivers also caught a glimpse of a unique billboard. It depicted nine men, awkwardly posing together, in a family portrait.

There was no caption but instead leaving it up for interpretation “We were trying to just bring humor and laughter to motorists,” said Jared Andrews of Waterbury. “I mean that stretch of highway could be awful.”

The nine men featured on the sign from left to right are Brad Troisi, Richard Godsil, Chris Rinaldi, Austin Troisi, Zack McCormack, Matt Scully, Mike Magas, Andrews and Jason Piel. They are lifelong friends from the Valley. Even with the ever-changing ways of life, they have stayed in touch. Mostly through a group chat that they use daily.

“Everyone in there has a good idea and it only takes one a good idea for us to do something like this,” said Godsil.

One of those good ideas landed them at a JC Penny for a photoshoot to pay homage to their friendship. They took a barrage of goofy photos laughing the whole way through. They posted a few of the those on the website Reddit where they went viral. The photos sparked comments from people all across the internet. Not all of them were enthusiastic.

“A lot of people were saying we were try-hards looking for attention and narcissist,” said Andrews. “If we were, why would we be putting ourselves in such a goofy position? We were really, truly, genuinely trying to make people laugh.”

The overwhelmingly positive reaction gave them the idea to take things one step further. They decided to buy space on the exit 21 billboard in Waterbury. The family portrait, the obvious choice.

“I want everyone to have great friends like this maybe seeing something like this will get people to spark up an old friendship,” said Godsil.  “Don't be afraid to make yourself look ridiculous,” said Andrews. “You don't know. God willing there's an afterlife. You don't want to look back on your life and say I wish I was on a billboard.”

All of this going viral was something the group never expected. Even though the fame may not last forever, the memories and their friendship surely will.

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