The Town of Gray held its annual 2017 Volunteer & Employee Thank You Celebration on April 25th, 2018 at Spring Meadows. It was a wonderful night recognizing all the hard work that Gray’s volunteers and employees do throughout the year and awarding certain individuals for their above and beyond contributions. Gray is very fortunate to have so many wonderful citizens who give back to the community.
The 2017 awards were as follows:
- Evelyn Durgin Award: Roger Derry
- Lifetime Achievement: Brad Fogg
- Organization of the Year: Gray Food Pantry
- Volunteer of the Year: Lacy Antonson
- Committee of the Year: Blueberry Festival Committee
A special thanks to Nate Tsukroff for taking photos of the event and providing them to the Town of Gray!
Another highlight of the evening was a special tribute video made by Town of Gray’s Cable TV Broadcast Manager: Grant Guiliano.
The video is available for viewing below, please enjoy!
Each presenter took the time to say heartfelt words about each award recipent. We would like to share them:
From Town Council Chair Lynn Gallagher for the Evelyn Morrill Durgin Award Winner: Roger Derry
I have the honor of presenting the Evelyn Morrill Durgin award this evening. Let me tell you a little about Evelyn and then you see why this award is so special.
Evelyn grew up in Gray and is remembered as a pillar in this community. She graduated valedictorian of her high school class (from the Pennell Institute of a class of 13 people). She married Paul Durgin on March 17th, 1939. They lived on the upper floor of her family’s brick house until her family got too big and later built a house in Gray park. After her grandmother’s death in 1981, her family returned to the brick house that has almost become iconic as her. Evelyn worked for or volunteered her time for organizations such as the March of Dimes and Eastern Star. She was president of the Republican Woman’s club and volunteered her time preparing and serving suppers and luncheons for the American Legion. One of her passions was the outdoors and enjoyed the conservation of land.
Evelyn kept her pulse on the town issues but took a keen interesting in the issues related to the use of land. Evelyn was known to every now and then pop into planning board meetings and ZBA meetings to see what was happening. Evelyn was described as hardworking, selfless, caring and dedicated. One person quoted “Nobody asked her. Nobody drove her. It was all her own initiative – for the good of the community. Evelyn had pride in her community and her work was recognized and appreciated by all the eyes that passed through the community.” Evelyn had a very soft, gentle way of tending to the concerns of her home town. This was evident by her presence at council meetings, town meetings and over the years has shown in many ways that she is proud of living in the Town of Gray.
Those qualities that Evelyn embodied are what the Council looked for in presenting this honor to our next recipient. Someone who is dedicated to his/her community and someone with a passion for helping others.
The recipient of this year’s Evelyn Morrill Durgin award is someone who is quietly working behind the scenes working to better Gray- but their work leaves a lasting effect town wide. This person although a relatively new resident in Gray, jumped in head first volunteering for the Blueberry Festival helping planning and logistics. He used his previous volunteer experience from working with the Yarmouth Clam Festival to help brainstorm ideas and implementation, working with local food truck vendors, event suppliers, GNG school groups and overseeing the volunteer shifts at the festival. In addition to his work on the Blueberry festival, this individual also volunteers on the Community Economic Development Committee as has been a driving force in the Shop Local Campaign. A campaign that not only helps residents but strengths local businesses and the community as a whole. As one of his peers stated: “He has given and continues to give considerable time as a civic-minded volunteer and his contributions to the CEDC and the Blueberry festival are great appreciated.” This person like Evelyn is caring, generous, and dedicated to their town. It is my honor to present this year’s Evelyn Morrill Durgin award to Roger Dery.
From Town Councilor Jason Wilson for Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Brad Fogg:
"Brad Fogg was one the Cable TV's "Originals" who was doing woman/man on the street interviews 20 years ago.(Wearing shorts.) He hosted interviews for various Town Public Service Programs on numerous events and topics. He Acts as the Mr. Fix It when it comes to anything media related. When there is a scheduling issue with Cable TV if possible he drops whatever he doing and comes in a saves the day. Besides Cable T.V., Brad is the Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals. His service to Gray is greatly appreciated! "
From Bruce Foshay to Organization of the Year - 2017 Winner Gray Community Food Pantry:
Twice a month, every month, the Gray Community Food Pantry opens its doors to provide much needed food assistance to residents of Gray and neighboring communities. The statistics are impressive:
- Between 40 to 70 households are served by each bi-weekly distribution.
- The total number of people served each time the pantry opens its doors runs between 150 to 180 – a combination of adults, children & seniors.
- And here’s the number that really jumps off the page for me — the volume of goods distributed each time the pantry opens its doors: between 700 to 800 ‘grocery bag equivalents’, every two weeks!
Behind the scenes, a small army of volunteers works tirelessly, month after month, to make this possible, logging an average of 370-odd hours each month. That’s the equivalent of over nine people, working full time, each month:
- receiving and sorting donations
- stocking the pantry shelves
- preparing for the bi-weekly distributions
- making home deliveries
- Numerous other tasks, including responding to emergency situations of people in need.
Donna Rand, who is the coordinator of the pantry, received a much deserved award last year as the Volunteer of the Year. It is with great pleasure that I recognize the entire team of people that make the Gray Community Food Pantry an ongoing success and a vital resource to our community, with the 2017 Award for Gray Committee of the Year.
From Sandra Carder for Volunteer of the Year Award Winner Lacy Antonson:
"Hello Everyone and Thank you all for coming to help in this celebration.
There is a Jewish saying “deeds of giving are the very foundation of the world” and I think it sums up volunteerism. It is the act of giving - giving of time, energy, ideas, support, hard work, and the list goes on. We celebrate all of our volunteers tonight, but I am going to single out one particular volunteer who has made a tremendous contribution this year.
I think the child’s story of the Little Engine that Could really describes our Volunteer of the Year recipient. One would say, resurrecting the End of Summer Fest would be quite an achievement, but taking that Festival to a whole new level as the Blueberry Festival was inspiring. Lacy Antonsen would be the first to say, she was part of a wonderful team, but every team needs a little engine that could. Lacy worked tirelessly, organized, found new ways to engage the residents and pulled off a truly community based celebration. That alone would warrant this recognition, but Lacy did so much more.
Lacy is also a member of the Recycling Committee and as Town Liaison for that Committee, I can assure you she brings the same level of enthusiasm, energy and teamwork to their efforts. She also works incredibly hard as a member of the Community Economic Development Committee. Having attended several of their functions, I can say she is full of great ideas for promoting Gray businesses, the Town and its Community. That is quite a list, but it continues as Lacy also participates on the Bike/Ped Committee, looking for ways to make Gray safer and more accessible to all residents & visitors alike.
These are all things Lacy has done as a volunteer this year, but she is also a very engaged resident. She has provided many suggestions to help the Dry Mills Schoolhouse fundraising efforts, attends Council meetings and provides feedback on various Town initiatives & issues.
Lacy sets the bar high for all volunteers & residents and we are very grateful to have her in our Town. Congratulations Lacy, well done & well deserved!"
From Dan Maguire to Committee of the Year - 2017 Winner Gray Blueberry Festival Committee:
This year's recipient of "Committee of the Year" is the Blueberry Festival Committee.
The committee members are; Lacy Antonsen, Roger Dery, and Rachel Lyn Rumson.
Manny Arcibald and Kathryn Picard were also members of the committee.
This committee transformed the "End of Summer Fest" into the Blueberry Festival, which was by all accounts a huge success. Now Lacy, Roger and Rachel are hard at work on this year's festival.
Their dedication has given our community the chance to create a new tradition. One that celebrates our whole community. All our people, businesses, service organizations and our history. All of which combine to make Gray a special place to live.
I learned from a wise teacher to always thank people for their time. Time is precious, it's the one thing people give us they can never get more of.
Thank you all very much."
Comments from the Evening:
VERY WELL DONE!!
Well deserved and I believe well appreciated by the many good folks who work hard and contribute much to enhance our very special community.Sincerely, Richard Barter