Manchester and the Mountains lost a good friend earlier this week when Len Kotler - ubiquitous around town when it came time to help out for many charitable events that required some extra volunteer help - passed away following a long illness.

Len, along with his wife, Becky, was not only one of Manchester's "Unsung Heroes" (class of 2005), but he was seemingly always part of the team when there was a special event to be held. A member of the town's Lions Club, Len, or Lenny, as many knew him, could often be found collecting tickets, or helping park cars, or doing something to help make an event move forward.

One of Len's great passions was running, and he could be counted upon to help show up for virtually all the area's events, from the Maple Leaf Half-Marathon on down, to lend a helping hand, after his own running days ended. Right up to the end, he was helping out in this regard, as a member of the organizing committee that is planning this coming year's Maple Leaf Half Marathon and 5K this September.

At other times, you would bump into him, along with Becky, at other venues - such as the Dorset Playhouse, where they could often be found helping usher ticketholders to their seats.

People like Len are the sort of folks who make Manchester a special place and grease the wheels to make the town go. We're fortunate that there are many others who see themselves as having a public, community role to play in their lives. The town and the whole area has benefited enormously from that over the years.

The Yankees have lost a great fan, the town has lost a great volunteer, and the running world a stalwart friend.


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We'll all miss his cheerful smile and good humor. Keep running home, Lenny.