"Unsung Heroes" awarded

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MANCHESTER — Many of us know individuals who work tirelessly to serve their community, some without recognition or accolades.

Since 1989, the Town of Manchester has honored those individuals as "Unsung Heroes," to recognize their community contributions. At the Dec. 5 meeting of the Manchester Selectboard, three local residents were honored as "Unsung Heroes," with a special "Lifetime Service Award" also presented.

"Winston Churchill said that we make a living not by what we get, but what we give," said Selectboard Vice-Chair Wayne Bell, who has led the "Unsung Hero" award year after year. "Tonight we honor heroes who have given much, and quietly contributed to the quality and fabric of our community."

Nominated by local residents Anne Lemke, Franci Carieri, and Jamie Carieri Kunisch, Karen Cestaro was the first "Unsung Hero" to be honored by the Selectboard. A former second-homeowner who recently retired to Manchester full-time, Cestaro was recognized for her service in the local Lions Club (and its annual Elf Express), the annual Bazaar held at Christ our Savior Parish, and her work with the Reading Recovery Program.

"We all think Karen spends most of her waking hours doing things for other people here in the Community and elsewhere," Carieri said. "Manchester is fortunate, indeed, that she and Glenn chose Manchester to call home."

Linda Drunsic was also recognized as an "Unsung Hero," nominated by her friend Emmy McCusker. According to McCusker, Drunsic's service to the community began while she was still employed at the former Factory Point National Bank, when she volunteered as a softball coach. Additionally, Drunsic has served on the board of the former Mark Skinner Library and the Community Food Cupboard, as well as a Justice of the Peace and election official. The local "hero" has also participated in programs like Plant a Row for the Hungry, Fresh Air Children, Neighbor to Neighbor, and the Summer Lunch Program.

Perhaps her "most overwhelming task," according to McCusky, is the "Holiday Project" organized alongside her husband Bill Drunsic and Manchester's Interfaith Council. That program provides families in need with food, clothing, and gifts during the holiday season.

From bake sales to church committees, Drunsic has "benefited a myriad of local organizations that help members of our community" said McCusker.

"We have a very special lady here in Manchester who should certainly be recognized for what she has done and continues to do in our community," she added. "Her generosity of time, talent, and participation have benefitted so many in our community over the years."

Another former Justice of the Peace, Andrew Shaw, was nominated by Cynthia Kilburn as an "Unsung Hero." Shaw served alongside Kilburn on the Manchester Board of Civil Authority for many years, she said, including a year where "there were 250 tax appeals that required the board to hold hearings, do site visits, and write up inspection and decision reports every single week for a year."

Kilburn emphasized that as the co-owner of the local W.H. Shaw Insurance Agency, Shaw has also created jobs in the community and even served in the local Rotary Club for a number of years. The “hero” has formerly served on Burr and Burton Academy’s Board of Trustees, and is an elected Trustee of Public Funds for the Town of Manchester.

"There are probably other boards he has served on and volunteer work he has done of which I am unaware," Kilburn said. "I think it is time for Andy to come out of the shadows and be publicly thanked for all he has done for the betterment of his community."

To conclude the evening, a special "Lifetime Service Award" was presented to Raymond "Crunch" Carrangio for his service with the VFW, Green Up Day, christmas caroling, and "general good deeds" according to a nomination submitted by former resident Dave Pardo.

Though Pardo was unable to attend the ceremony, Carrangio was honored by close friend Philip Bourn.

"I've known Crunch since I was probably two or three years old; he's probably one of my best friends in town," Bourn said. "Crunch is one of those people that never asks for anything in return, but gives 100 percent to the community."

"Crunch has been a force of nature in this town for so many years," added Bell. "He has helped so many people and fostered so many wonderful, fun traditions."



Reach Cherise Madigan at cmadigan@manchesterjournal.com, or by phone at 802-490-6471.


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