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The enthusiasm was palpable at the Medfield Foundation Awards Ceremony honoring this year’s volunteers at the Center at Medfield, on Sunday, March 31. A common theme of the eleven recipients was that volunteering is its own reward.
“I like doing community service because there is no better feeling than helping someone out,” said Sam Joline, a Medfield High School student, and one of the nominees for the Youth Award.
The Medfield Foundation (MFi) started the Volunteer Awards in 2008 as a way to recognize people who freely give of their time to help others and make Medfield a better place. Each honoree receives a $100 donation in their name to their favorite charity. The awards categories are: Youth Volunteer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Medfield High School student Maeve Devlin was honored as Youth Volunteer of the Year for her leadership role with Best Buddies, a club that matches high school students up with students with disabilities. “Disabilities do not define them,” said Maeve, who has volunteered at the Special Olympics since first grade.
Other Medfield High School nominees for Youth Volunteer of the Year include Hannah Rogan for her efforts with Miss Amazing as a buddy, dance workshop helper and now Co-Director. Morgan Caro found her calling in helping at Golden Opportunities for Independence (GOFI), a nonprofit that breeds, raises, and trains service dogs for disabled members of the community. She is looking forward to working with some new puppies. Sam Joline was nominated for his volunteer work at the Medfield After School Program (MAP) and at New Life Furniture Exchange in Millis.
The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Pat Casey for his 17 years on the Economic Development Committee, and for his work on the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee, where he was a “conciliator and collaborator” in producing a 210-page report using his “data analytic” expertise. The committee met every two weeks for four years.
Other Volunteer of the Year nominees include Dick Judge, whose passion is restoring Medfield’s 300-year-old Kingsbury Grist Mill. “The grist mill represents to me a Currier & Ives view of Medfield,” said Dick, who is always looking for people to donate their time, materials and/or money to continue the mill’s restoration.
Another nominee, Michele Feinsilver Hoye, is all about gardening, whether as president of the Garden Club, teaching through her native shade garden at the back of the Medfield Public Library or as one of four administrators of the newly formed Peak House Heritage Center. Michele helped restore the Peak House gardens with plants that were around during the time of the early settlers.
Nominee Liz Sandeman is passionate about New England Donor Services. “Twenty-two people die every day on the waiting list,” said Liz, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness. “My sister was one of them, she was 54.” She explained that individuals can register as an organ and tissue donor with any condition.
A busy mother of five, nominee Michelle Barrett is a driving force in the Medfield schools and community as a past MCPE president, past president of New ‘n Towne, St. Edward’s Church faith formation classes, girls lacrosse coach and on just about every school event. Michelle said she volunteers so the teachers and nurses can do their jobs.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Steve Nolan and Marie Zack Nolan, who have been volunteering in Medfield for more than 30 years, on just about every town committee. Marie led the Medfield Energy Committee to reduce Medfield’s municipal buildings’ energy use. Through her efforts, the town’s energy cost was reduced from $1.2 million in 2008 to $670,000 in 2017, a 44 percent reduction.
Steve used his legal expertise, calm and sense of humor to aid in the development of the 17 Affordable Homes at Allendale when the state was holding up progress. His work on the Medfield State Hospital property earned him Citizen Planner of the Year from the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association. He was also instrumental in the planning that led to a thriving, downtown Medfield. “The strength of the town is in its volunteers,” said Steve, who finds volunteering rewarding, enriching and social.
The recipients were presented certificates from State Senator Paul Feeney, State Representative Denise Garlick, State Representative Shawn Dooley and Medfield Selectman Gus Murby. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III sent certificates.