Friday, July 19, 2002
Carlisle names Koning and Findlay 2002 honorees Robert Koning Most Honored Citizen
I commend those of you who are spending the holiday in Carlisle. By keeping your cars at home you are making our highways safer and conserving precious energy. For those of you who have come back to Carlisle to see and be with old friends, you are honoring the original concept of Old Home Days. On behalf of the Old Home Days and the Celebrations Committees, I welcome you to this celebration of the 226th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. Massachusetts' John Adams was given the job of writing the Declaration, but had other responsibilities in supporting the war for independence and turned the job over to Thomas Jefferson. These men were friends then. They later became bitter political enemies, but in later life were corresponding friends again. Adams died on July 4th, exactly fifty years after the Declaration was signed. On his death bed he expressed the thought that Jefferson lives on. He was wrong; Jefferson died two hours earlier on July 4, 1826.
On this historic spot on which we now stand, on April 19, 1775, a little more than a year before the Declaration was signed, Carlisle Minutemen assembled here to march down to the Old North Bridge to do their part in winning our independence. Massachusetts and Carlisle contributed from the very first, to establish a small thirteen- state country to begin the world's first experiment in true democracy. The experiment worked, thanks to many communities like Carlisle, enabling this little country to grow until it now provides a base for democracy from sea to shining sea, and beyond.
In addition to celebrating our independence on July 4th, we announce our Most Honored Citizen. Although you will recognize him sooner, because he is so well known, we will follow tradition and announce his name after a Minute Man drum roll at the end.
Our Most Honored Citizen always had an interest in Carlisle. He lived near the Carlisle Depot. Don't look in Carlisle for the spot where it stood, because you won't find it here. It was just across the line in Westford on what used to be the main line to Boston. One account says that he joined the Carlisle firefighters when he was sixteen. He also was attracted to a young lady whose father was a long time Carlisle selectman. Her mother owned the school bus and drove Carlisle kids to school. Some of you or your kids may have taken that ride. These young people married and raised four children, two boys and two girls, who attended our schools and with the help of their parents became good students and athletes. They continued their education and as a second generation contribute to the future of Carlisle and the nation. Although he followed many other pursuits, our Most Honored Citizen never entirely gave up his interest in farming. With some of Jack Valentine's organic fertilizer, he raised the biggest pumpkins in town.
He was our wire inspector and later our building inspector. If you live in a house in Carlisle, there is a good chance that his careful eye made sure that it was built correctly and is safe for you and your family.
His talents for organization and training, with an eye on all the details, were soon recognized by his selection as Waldo Wilson's Deputy Fire Chief. When Waldo retired, the Selectmen chose him as Fire Chief. His accomplishments in this position are many. He is responsible for our modern fire station on Westford Street where you will enjoy barbecued chicken tonight. He brought it in on time and within budget. You will note that it is immaculately kept inside and out. If you or your family have a medical emergency, you will be transported to a medical facility in an ambulance, which he was responsible for procuring and attended by emergency medical personnel he trained.
His talents as a fire fighter and a medical emergency supervisor extend beyond Carlisle. Early on he recognized that disasters could strike anywhere and that regional plans for the extended community were essential. If there is a fire in Carlisle that is a little too much for us to snuff out quickly, you will find the men and equipment from surrounding communities here to help us with the job. We reciprocate by assisting our neighboring towns.
We have always appreciated our emergency personnel. However, since 9/11/01 we are more appreciative than ever. We join communities all over the country in honoring our emergency personnel, our fire fighters, police, communicators, and emergency medical personnel in the naming our Most Honored Citizen. We and they want you to enjoy the day knowing that your safety is in good hands.
Our Most Honored Citizen for 2002 is Carlisle's own Chief, Bob Koning.
Marjie Findlay Conservationist of the Year
This year's Conservationist of the Year Award goes to someone who has quietly epitomized what it means to be a true conservationist.
This person has lived in Carlisle for more than 20 years, and probably knows the trail system and conservation lands better than most members of the trails committee or, dare I say so, the ConsCom, and perhaps not from a maintenance and repair point of view, but rather from a naturalist's perspective one who intrinsically appreciates the beauty of what she is experiencing.
She has been a long-time, very active and persuasive member of the Carlisle Land Trust, active in our schools and recreation programs and active in bringing the resources of other communities and organizations to Carlisle for the benefit of our conservation interests. People who know her have said that she is custodian of things that we value, that she is the consummate volunteer and as such knows all to well how to get the best out of others.
This year's Conservationist of Year Award goes to Marjie Findlay, eager participant and motivator, who "Thinks Globally, Acts Locally" and makes the work of conservation fun!
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito