The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 16, 2004


Andreassen, Chaput named Honored Citizens

Ed. note: Selectman Doug Stevenson, a member of the Celebrations Committee, presented Carlisle's Honored Citizen Awards posthumously to Sarah Andreassen and Vivian Chaput at Old Home Day on July 3. The following is the text of his speech.

Good Morning, and thank you, Dave. It is quite a challenge to speak after John Lee, because it's almost impossible to pack so much eloquence into a few short paragraphs.

I am honored to be before you today to present Carlisle's Most Honored Citizen Award for 2004. As always, the Celebrations Committee was presented with many exceptional nominees.

As all of us are aware, this past year has been fraught with the loss of too many of our finest and most dedicated citizens, friends and family members. Two in particular stand out, who have given so much of themselves to our wonderful community of Carlisle. Our committee, therefore, found it most appropriate to honor posthumously two women, who loved their town and expressed this love through their dedication to its betterment: Sarah Andreassen and Vivian Chaput — both diverse, hard-working, caring and prolific givers of their time to our fine town — there is nothing more satisfying than presenting this award to both of them, who are so deserving; there is not much more disappointing than not being able to present to them in person and for them to be present among those of us who wish to say "thank you" for all that they have given.

Accepting the award on behalf of her mother is Alice Andreassen — Alice will you please join me.

Sarah Wilson Andreassen was born in Concord, Massachusetts on February 27, 1940. She was the daughter of Waldo and Esther Wilson of Carlisle. She was a graduate of the Carlisle Public Schools, Concord High School and later attended Northeastern University in Boston. She is best known for her roles as Town Accountant and Town Clerk, jobs here in Carlisle that she carried out with devotion beyond compare. Whether it was marriage licenses, fishing licenses, birth certificates, cemetery deeds, balancing department accounts or scheduling tellers for a Town Meeting, she loved her job and she passionately believed in the importance of everything she did. Sarah served as Town Clerk for 14 years and as Town Accountant for 24 years until her death last August. Sarah was also a dedicated volunteer and member of the Old Home Day Association, a past officer of the Carlisle Republican Town Committee, a member of the Town Clerks Association and a member of the Massachusetts Municipal Accountants Association, where she was a frequent instructor.

Sarah's strength of character and love of life was never more evident than over the last two years of her life as she battled courageously with cancer. She acted with poise and dignity and never lost sight of the needs of others. She took her responsibility of serving her community seriously, dutifully following in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents, who had also served Carlisle so well. She was always there for older residents struggling with change, but was never more excited than to tell stories of young couples eager for their nuptials or new folks moving into town. Sarah was much more than a town employee; she lived for the town and for its people.

One of the greatest aspects of a small town like Carlisle is having someone to keep us connected to the past, someone who knows all the old families, cares about the traditions. Sarah was this for all of us. At times she resisted change, but not for the sake of it, only to impress on us the importance of preserving our rich history and helping transmit it into the future. Sarah's service to her community will never be forgotten, her charming and caring friendship will endure in the hearts of many. Last August many of us joined Sarah's family and loved ones and laid her to rest in the shadow of the Wilson Chapel, there to be with generations of her family all of whom made her what she was. We hope and trust that she is with them, faithfully looking after her home town of Carlisle

So, to Carl and Aaron, who are visiting in Kentucky this weekend, and to you, Alice, Sarah was a devoted mother and a beloved wife. To her community of Carlisle she was a stickler for detail, at times a thorn in our sides, so often a caring friend and a dutiful town employee, but today she clearly stands out as Carlisle's Most Honored Citizen.

The award for Vivian will be accepted by her husband Ron and her daughter Noelle and her husband Keith and their daughter, Vivian's first grandchild, Logan, who was born just months after Vivian's death. Please join me.

Vivian Franciszka Chaput was a 30-year resident of the Town of Carlisle, during which time she was an extraordinary volunteer and one of the most active public servants that our community has seen over the last few decades. She has been involved in many of the major public policy initiatives of recent memory and has served selflessly on numerous boards and committees.

But before coming to Carlisle she was already a well-accomplished individual. She received her bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from the University of Rhode Island and studied Planning and Landscape Design at the University of Pennsylvania. She also received her MBA from Babson College. After working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., she spent several years as a city planner with the Manchester, New Hampshire Redevelopment Authority.

Along the way she met and married Dr. Ronald Chaput, a dentist, who has practiced for many years in the town of Chelmsford. She was a devoted wife and mother — raising her daughter Noelle here in Carlisle and finding ample time to serve her community. Those of us who served with her will never forget our Selectman's meeting on the night of September 11, 2001, with Vivian, who was always dedicated to her town sitting nervously, not having heard from her daughter, who was working in New York City. And how recently she looked forward to being a grandmother and how she enjoyed her trips and weekends with her husband. She balanced her dedication to her family and to her town with just the right amount of privacy and public dignity.

Vivian served on the Carlisle Planning Board for 17 years and was serving her eighth year on the Board of Selectmen until her tragic death this past March. Her accomplishments were abundant: she was an active member of the non-profit assocation that developed Carlisle Village Court; she served on the Study Committee for the Town Master Plan; she was instrumental in the securing of local and federal funding for the purchase of the 126 Acre O'Rourke Farm as well as in the preservation of the Kennealy Farm in Billerica; she recently led the way for the sale of the Carriage Way parcel, securing over $400,000 for the town's stabilization Fund; she worked arduously to pass the Community Preservation Act, to develop pathways with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee, and to negotiate fair contracts with our Police Officers and School Teachers. She was also the Selectman's representative to MAGIC — a regional planning council, and to the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord River Stewardship Council. She found time to act in town plays, Library Murder Mysteries, to be active in the Carlisle Democratic Town Committee and the League of Women Voters, as well as march in Memorial Day parades

In the private sector, she was an accomplished developer, recently the principal of Great Brook Associates. Last year her company completed development of a 26-unit, senior-restricted condominium complex in Billerica, for which she received a design award from the National Association of Home Builders.

Here's what a few of Vivian's colleagues have said of her: "Vivian was the epitome of class. You could not help but admire and respect her."

"She was the consummate professional in representing the town. You couldn't ask for a better person to work with. We and subsequent generations of Carlisleans will be forever thankful for her commitment to our community."

"She was a tireless, positive and committed person who gave to the public good. What I remember is her style, sense of humor and her eye and persistence to move forward despite all odds. She cared deeply about the people, the land, the schools and Carlisle. Doing good was part of her nature. I felt better being in her presence."

"I cannot help but smile when I think of Vivian Chaput"

Today we take a few moments here in Carlisle to remember and honor this great woman. Her contributions will live on long after even we are all gone. We as a community have been blessed to travel a short distance with her. Ron, you and Noelle and your whole family have been even more blessed.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito