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Daniel Dillon, who died earlier this week, was a longtime community leader and volunteer.

Community Remembers Dan Dillon as Selfless Advocate

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Many are mourning the loss of local human services advocate Daniel Dillon, 79, who passed away on Monday, Jan. 4, at Berkshire Medical Center from complications of COVID-19.

Born June 14, 1941, and a graduate of St. Joseph's High School and Berkshire Community College, Dillon held many important roles throughout his lifetime including as a soldier, a leader, and a helping hand.

"I had the privilege to know and to work with Dan Dillon for nearly 20 years," President and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union John Bissell said. "He set the standard for community service, and service above self. In every capacity, from community volunteer roles to his leadership of the Berkshire United Way, to his engagement with local politics, and his part-time role at Greylock, Dan demonstrated how deeply he cared for all of the people in this region. We will miss his tireless energy, his upbeat spirit, and his Irish charm."

Dillon was president of Berkshire United Way for 12 years and, in 2005, was presented the Francis X. Doyle Award by the Berkshire Health Systems Board of Trustees for his commitment to those in the community who need help. In 2005, Berkshire United Way presented him the Helping Hands, Caring Heart Award, which was then renamed in his honor as the Daniel C. Dillon Helping Hands, Caring Hearts Award.

"In many ways, Dan Dillon was larger than life. A true local hero who embodied Berkshire United Ways tagline — Here for Good," President and CEO of Berkshire United Way Candace Winkler said. "Whether playing Santa Claus at the annual tree lighting ceremony in Pittsfield or raising money to address social challenges, he inspired others to volunteer and give back to the community. All of us at Berkshire United Way are saddened by his passing but his legacy will live on through the Daniel C. Dillon Helping Hands, Caring Hearts Award."

A 2005 press release announcing Dillon's retirement said: "His leadership has been characterized by a positive attitude, creative ideas, insightful thought process, and a tireless work ethic."

After retiring from BUW in that same year, Dillon took leadership as the relationship development officer for Greylock Federal Credit Union, where he benefited staff by creating fun events to encourage employee engagement. It was said that playing Santa Claus was Dillon's favorite community role.

During this time, Dillon was also instrumental in reviving the Berkshire Community College's Alumni Association as a BCC grad himself.  Up until his passing, he served on the Board of Berkshire Community College Foundation and development committee.

Dillon served as a city councilor from 1977 to 1981 and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1981. He was also the longtime co-producer and master of ceremonies for the annual Cerebral Palsy Telethon, chair of the Massachusetts Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) Set-Aside committee and the Pittsfield Redevelopment Authority, served as vice president of both the Irish American Organization and Irish Sister City Committee, and served on the Pittsfield Human Services commission and Success by Six Steering Committee.

Before becoming president of Berkshire United Way, Dillon worked for General Electric from 1965 to 1991 after returning from two years of service in the Army. At GE, his many roles included program engineer, engineering administrator, and draftsman, and designer.  He is a graduate of the GE Apprentice Program in Drafting and served as president of Local 140 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers and as president of the Northeast Council of IFPTE.

Dillon also received the annual Top Ten Alumni Award from St. Joseph High school.

He was described by friends and colleagues as humble, selfless, and caring.  


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MassWildlife Asks Public Not to Feed 'GE Deer'

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If you have ever driven down New York Avenue and seen the deer grazing behind the fencing that encases General Electric's property, it is likely that you have been inclined to feed them.

Though this action is rooted in kindness, it is not healthy for the woodland friends and could be fatal, which is why MassWildlife has put up signs asking that residents do not throw food over the fences.

"Obviously, people see the deer in there and they probably think 'what are they going to eat? They're limited in there they're stuck in there.'  I will say, they're definitely not stuck in there," MassWildlife's wildlife biologist Nathan Buckhout said.

For decades, the deer have found an unlikely sanctuary in the former GE site that includes two landfills, Hill 78 and Building 71. Buckhout explained that they have been there for decades, spawning offspring and becoming completely self-sufficient within the fenced area.

"They're doing just fine," he said. "And they obviously are getting enough food and water, otherwise their population would be limited, they wouldn't be able to produce their offspring so there would be fewer fawns, and eventually they probably would have disappeared — but they haven't."

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