Unsung Hero: Carolyn Smith honored with Manchester Community Service Award

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MANCHESTER — Carolyn Smith joined an exclusive club when her name became the 83rd on the plaque honoring those given the Community Service Award.

The Manchester Select Board held a special meeting Tuesday evening to honor Smith and friends and family were in attendance as she was feted during the 28th annual Community Service Awards, also known as the Unsung Hero Awards.

Selectman Wayne Bell serves as chairman of the Unsung Hero Committee (he's also a member) and welcomed Smith into

the club.

"This is a giving community and the list of those we have honored is in no way complete," Bell said. "We are fortunate to have to get a new plaque because we have run out of space."

He said the honors are intended to recognize those who contribute to making Manchester a great place to live while often getting no credit or fame for their efforts.

"It's selfless community service that often goes unrecognized," Bell said. "Sometimes generous givers are so quiet nobody notices."

Bell read the names of the 82 awardees who have been recognized in years past.

"Some are no longer with us, the good news of course is the legacy they have left, and especially the fact that so many are still doing the work for which they were honored," Bell said.

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To recognize Smith, Bell asked John and Jean Morris, who wrote the letter of nomination for her to say a few words.

In their letter, they recognized Smith for her work in the community in which she has lived for more than 30 years.

John Morris said they had two concerns when they decided to nominate Smith for the award.

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"First, Carolyn does an awful lot of her work privately and I wasn't sure she would welcome this kind of recognition," he said. "Second, even though we've known her for better than 18 years, we weren't sure we had everything. But we decided to ignore that concern because we decided the list was long enough."

Jean Morris said Smith just recently completed yet another community Thanksgiving dinner at St. Paul's Church. Next on her list will be the making and distributing of holiday wreaths throughout town.

Through the years, Smith has served on a variety of town boards and committees, including serving many roles on the Manchester Garden Club, of which she is currently vice president. She was active in organizing and maintaining the Factory Point Town Green as part of her efforts in civic beautification.

She's been a board member on the New England Komen Race for the Cure fundraising efforts and has been co-treasurer for at least 10 years and delivers more than 100 participants each year.

She has long been active on the Community Food Cupboard and is an active board member. She serves as an Extra-Ordinary minister at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church and works with the Interfaith Council.

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She works as a coordinator for the scholarship program for area high school seniors, has volunteered at the Hildene welcome center for many years, has served on the board of the Vermont Reading Partners.

"Clearly [Smith is] a remarkable woman who has freely given her time and skills over many years to our community," the letter concludes.

Smith was accompanied by her husband Ray and many others in the audience.

Bell also took a moment to recognize recent losses in the community.

Bell noted the death of well-known chef and restaurant owner Henry Bronson and then the death of Burton Snowboards founder Jake Burton Carpenter.

Bell asked for a moment of silence in their honor.

"I just want to take a moment and acknowledge that loss and to honor and thank them for all that they gave to our community during their lives," Bell said.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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