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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Community Good

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mayor John Barrett III and Pearl Mullett, who won a "neighborly" for community beautification.
North Adams - The saying is 'no good deed goes unpunished' but thanks to the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, more than 170 good deeds and the folks who initiated the acts were honored and applauded on Oct. 23.

The 2006 fall NBCC "Neighborlies Awards" were presented during a ceremony hosted by Kathy Keeser and Natalie Cain. City Mayor John Barrett III presented over 150 appreciation certificates to folks who ranged in age from pre-school toddlers to 93-year-old community volunteer Lydia Racicort.


Shayanna Aubin was honored for her community gardening efforts.
"So many people do so many good acts to better our community," Barrett said during the event held at the Masonic Temple.

Barrett delivered thanks "for making this such a special place to live and raise families."

He noted that a significant number of "neighborlies" were awarded to the region's youth.

Neighborly recipients are nominated by community members during spring and late summer/early fall nomination periods set forth by NBCC members. Nominations may involve major projects or acts by groups or individuals, or may involve a kindly act toward a neighbor or friend.

City resident Frank Merrigan was presented a "neighborly" after being nominated because he roused himself from cozy slumber on a bitterly cold winter morning to provide a UNITY youth group van with jump-start, thereby reviving the vehicle's dead battery and saving a planned field trip from cancellation.

Mayor John Barrett III presents an award to Frank Merrigan


Ole Oleson, Terry Culpepper, Don Boucher, Doug Miller and Ed Rysz were among those who were recognized for helpful acts that greatly benefit neighbors.

Clarksburg Elementary School teacher Michael Little and a group of school students and staff were presented a "Pulling Together Neighborly" for an extensive spring "Voices of Hatikvah" Holocaust exhibit hosted at the school.

Included in the award were Darrell English, who permitted the students to display hundreds of authentic items from his private collection, Arthur Brule, who offered information about the Korean War during the exhibit, and Rabbi Robert Sternberg and Professor George Torrey, who spoke during an exhibit public presentation. Torrey is a survivor of a World War II concentration camp.


Karen Baumbach of Ecu-Health Care Services
Sarah Simonetti, 15, was among the students honored for the project. Sarah earned a "neighborly" previously for assisting with a senior citizen dance.

"Most of the younger people I know like to do good things," Sarah said. "It's fun to do nice things that help people. And it feels good when someone recognizes the good things that are being done."

Ecu-Health Care Program Coordinator Karen Baumbach was presented a special community service award by the organization's Executive Director Charles "Chip" Joffe-Halpern.

Joffe-Halpern told the almost 200 people at the ceremony that Baumbach assisted over 700 senior citizens with the complex Medicaid Part D enrollment process. Additionally, the Northern Berkshire region sent more Prescription Advantage program applications to state program overseers than any major city in Massachusetts, including Boston, Joffe-Halpern said. He attributed that volume to Baumbach's efforts.

Amanda Moon was among the young citizens honored with a "neighborly" certificate.


Helen Harrison of the Western Mass. Food Bank was honored for her work with "Target Hunger," an initiative that involves about 30 groups and agencies all seeking solutions to community hunger.
Food bank Executive Director Andrew Morehouse attended the awards ceremony.

"I think it's exciting to see all these people being recognized for the things they do," Morehouse said. "It's all about solving community issues and you can't do that without bringing community together."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or 802-823-9367.
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