Friday, July 1, 2005
Lee and Art Milliken are named Most Honored Citizens
Good Morning and Happy Birthday, Carlisle! It's great to be here celebrating Carlisle's Bicentennial. It is also an honor to be before you to present Carlisle's 2005 Most Honored Citizen Award. As is often the case, the Celebrations Committee is faced with the daunting task of selecting from some of Carlisle's most active inhabitants and prolific givers. This year we have chosen a couple who have been part of the very fabric of our town for decades. This couple has been a shining example of dedication and commitment to community. They have offered their leadership skills, their willing service, their perseverance and compassionate hearts to so many of Carlisle's critical needs. They have brought to so many challenges a keen sense of what is good for our town and a graceful manner that guarantees success.
This award is made especially poignant today as one half of this couple is unable to be with us, having lost her courageous battle with cancer this past week. So today, together, we not only rejoice in honoring a pair of exemplary Carlisleans for their public contributions, we also share in that very personal moment of grieving when someone so precious has left us and has left her loved ones. Today I ask you to join me in congratulating and thanking Carlisle's Most Honored Citizens: Lee and Art Milliken.
Art and Lee's contributions to the Town of Carlisle are vast, almost too many to enumerate:
Lee's contributions span many years and diverse interests. Most memorable is her work with the Council on Aging and Carlisle's elderly. She served as the outreach coordinator for the COA, as a member of the board of Cooperative Elders Services and was a leading advocate for the COA van. She will be remembered by so many of Carlisle's seniors for her warm smile and caring touch. She has been inexhaustible in her selfless devotion to many of Carlisle's most precious citizens in their time of need.
Her dedication to the youth of Carlisle, especially her own children, is exemplified in so much that she did. Whether it was Cub Scouts or 4H or the Red Balloon Pre-School or the Carlisle School Association, or the Community Chest, she volunteered with an understated but determined style. She offered her time and talents to the Carlisle Mosquito — serving as the chairman of the board of Carlisle Communications, Inc. and reporting for over 20 years. Many others know of her passion for the outdoors, for tennis and for music. Her decades of giving to others serve as an example to us all. Her ability to balance such a life of public contribution with full devotion to her husband and children is nothing less than admirable. Lee is today looking down on us from a better place, but her good works and her positive influence remain, and we are encouraged to carry forward in her footsteps.
Art, first of all I stand with a community that offers our heartfelt condolences. At the same time I stand with a community that offers a sincere thank you and congratulations. Art has distinguished himself as a leader in many of Carlisle's significant volunteer organizations, boards and committees. He has done so with poise, commitment and determination. He served on the Carlisle School Committee, coached for the Bill Koch Cross Country Ski League, chaired the Concord Family Services, and served on both the Gleason Public Library and Concord—Carlisle High School Building Committees. Art was a key part of the team that developed Carlisle Village Court, continues to serve with the Pathways Committee and was instrumental in the passage of the Community Preservation Act.
Most recently, Art has gained prominence as the president of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, working tirelessly to protect valued conservation land in our town. He has been a man of persistent energy, helping to preserve over 600 acres of land in Carlisle. As president of CCF, he has played a significant role in securing funds — public and private — for the Wang Coombs Land, and the Benfield Parcel. He has helped shepherd many conservation restrictions, thereby protecting our rural character without the need of taxpayer funds. His efforts and accomplishments in the arena of conservation earned him the Conservationist Award in 2004. He has continued to put himself forward as an advocate for many of the challenging tasks that face the community of Carlisle, and has done so with charm and wit, and without forgetting all those others who have labored so diligently with him.
I expect there are many other ways in which Art and Lee have touched the lives of many in our community. Many of you probably have your own story or example. Today, though, we do more than just count the deeds — we measure the character, the commitment and the caring of this exceptional couple. Both Art and Lee have made our town — their town — a better place and have made us better people. They, together and individually, have given of themselves freely and unconditionally.
The Carlisle Celebrations Committee is honored to present this award to Art and Lee. They join a special list of Carlisle's finest citizens who have found it in themselves to strengthen and beautify the community of Carlisle.
At this time I'd ask all of you to join me in a moment of silence for Lee and all of our other honored citizens who are no longer able to be here with us in person, but who have left an indelible mark on our wonderful town.
© 2005 The Carlisle Mosquito