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Massachusetts Community Hall Of Fame

 

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Alan Page, Belchertown Massachusetts. Winning Environmentalist: I would like to propose a story about our local forester, Alan Page. I am sure that to some Alan is the quintessential grenade-thrower, a person who lives to stir up trouble. Alan is committed to finding relationships between people and forests where neither is the loser. Frequently this puts him in direct conflict with those bureaucrats charged with the management of our natural resources. Here is a clear-cut case of tilting at windmills, since bureaucrats are usually facile, glib, and deeply funded. By Charlie White

Arn Chorn-Pond, Lowell, Massachusetts. Winning Citizen: The selfless Arn Chorn-Pond is a Cambodian – formerly a refugee who fled to Thailand – who doggedly, almost singlehandedly went about saving his country’s musical culture, which like so many other aspects of traditional Cambodian society was devastated under the ruthless Khmer Rouge regime. He lives and works in Lowell, Massachusetts. By Carleton Cole

Brian Carver, Massachusetts. Winning Benefactor: Brian is a person who helps alcoholics recover from their illness by taking them through a process called the 12 Steps. Many people nowadays know about self-help groups, but this is a program for living that is designed to keep a once hopeless addict filled with Spirit or feeling of God, giving him a new life and a sense of purpose through helping others just like Brian does. Brian is a winner, yet he is humble in his avocation of carrying the message to other alcoholics; it is a job done anonymously. He has helped 30+ addicts recover, and many more through speaking at meetings and living a spiritual life. By Sean Wilcoxson

Elijah Ocean Neal, South Shore, Massachusetts. Winning Youth: Elijah is a solid candidate for Winners Within UsTM. He is a five year old boy who was diagnosed a year and a half ago with type one diabetes. Despite having his blood drawn eight to ten times a day and sharing his time between separated parents, Elijah remains a beautiful, inspirational person. While at five years old he has yet to conquer the world, this child already is a ray of light to all who know him. By Willis

John McInnis, Amesbury, Massachusetts. Winning Merchant: He is a full time auctioneer that has over 25 years of full time involvement in the auction industry dealing with estates and fine art. He has been licensed since 1978 and has conducted auctions in New England and Florida, and has attended auctions nationally and internationally. For over 25 years Mr. McInnis has bought, sold, appraised and auctioned antiques, fine art and real estate thoughtout the Continental United States. He continues to attend auctions, antique sales and seminars to keep apprised of the trends and conditions in the antique and fine art marketplace. By Diane Ficarra

New England Wildlife Center. Weymouth, Massachusetts. Winning Environmentalist/Samaritan. Readers Choice: New England Wildlife’s employees look after orphaned, sick, and injured creatures of 225 different species every year. This wide array of wildlife includes raccoons, salamanders, hedgehogs, pigs, bats, turtles, mice, and many types of birds. After they have become fully nurtured and treated, the animals are released from the hospital and are returned to their rightful home in the wild. Staff members of the organization also contribute their knowledge and passion of animals to students in grades K-12 and to anyone else who strives in preserving New England’s wild legacy. By Douglas Maxwell Myer

Professor Lester W Cory, Dartmouth Massachusetts. Winning Benefactor: Almost 30 years ago, Lester W. Cory, an engineering professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, read a newspaper story about a girl with cerebral palsy who communicated solely by fixing her gaze on alphabet letters written on a Plexiglas board. She could not speak or use her hands but spelled out her thoughts to family members who tracked her eye movements. With the help of a colleague, Prof. Cory designed a computer that allowed Linda to write and gave her a synthesized “voice.” The demand for custom-made and adapted systems for people with disabilities skyrocketed and the non-profit organization called SHARE was born. Today, SHARE, with Prof. Cory still at its helm, has provided assistive technology and given the gift of communication to more than 3,000 people in 39 states and eight foreign countries. Although retired from the classroom, Prof. Cory continues to champion the cause to improve the quality of life and enhance the independence of people with disabilities. By Susan Gonzalves

Sarath Suong, Boston, Massachusetts. Winning Youth: He is a young Southeast Asian man who started an organization to help other SEA kids find community and support. As you may know, many of these families have come to the US to escape genocide and horrifying atrocity. Operating on a shoestring and with no adult assistance, this high school student organized around some substantial issues, even lobbying at the state house. He’s helped other kids get their GEDs, inspiring them to dream about their futures, and the group has acheived national recognition. He has recently left the organization to go to college. By Kim Stowell