2012 Keel Award Winners

            The Wanderer is once again pleased to announce the 2012 recipients of our nineteenth annual “Wanderer Keel Awards.” This annual community service honor is presented to one resident from each town: Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester. It is given to those who have contributed in some way to the overall benefit of the community, either directly to town residents, or indirectly through efforts in promoting town activities, or working to keep the wheels of local government well-oiled.

In doing this each year, we hope to applaud those who are rarely recognized for their countless hours of service and focus on the many people “behind the scenes” who remain otherwise anonymous but provide crucial support to many town functions. Like the keel of a ship, which keeps the vessel from capsizing, the recipients of the Annual Wanderer Keel Award are recognized for their stalwart efforts in keeping their respective community on an “even keel.” We hope you will join us in congratulating this year’s recipients and celebrate their contributions to the Tri-Town communities.

Mattapoisett Keel Award 2012 – 

Howard C. Tinkham, during his lifetime, has played a large role in the community of Mattapoisett.  In his youth, he and his family harvested timber, ran a sawmill, raised vegetable crops and built a cranberry bog. During the 1960’s, Howard served on the Finance Committee and on the Planning Board.

In 2008, Howard donated the land with rights of way that now comprise the Mattapoisett River Valley Treatment Plant. Earlier, he granted the use of the land to the Boy Scout Troop #53 for what is known as “Camp Tinkham.” He has been a steward of the lands and water resources in the Mattapoisett Village area known as Tinkham Town.

In 2008, he received citations from the Governor, the State Legislature and the Board of Selectmen for his contributions to the Water District and his stewardship of the land.

Each year since 1949, Howard has overseen the activities of the Tinkham Town Chapel, the Tinkham Town Helping Hand Society Meeting House and the Ellis Cemetery. Annually, he has stocked the wood fire stove, lit the kerosene lamps, maintained the foot pump organ and seen to the maintenance of the two buildings, all for the use of the community.

These days, he still checks up on the Water Department and the Highway Department, keeps the Chapel and Meeting House going and manages to mow his hayfield, produce a garden of asparagus, beans, cabbage, squash and tomatoes. In addition, he continues to monitor the operation of a three-acre cranberry bog.

Howard C. Tinkham joins other past Mattapoisett Keel Award Winners: Maurice “Mudgie” Tavares (1994); Priscilla Alden Hathaway (1995); Norma Holt (1996); Gale Hudson (1997); Kenneth Stickney (1998); Clara Morgan (1999); Betty and Bert Theriault (2000); John N. “Jack” DeCosta (2001); Jo Pannell (2002); Stan Ellis (2003); Evelyn Pursley (2004); Luice Moncevitch (2005); Seth Mendell (2006); Bradford A. Hathaway (2007); Kim Field (2008), Dr. David Spencer Jenny (2009), Stephen L. Kelleher (2010), Bento Martin (2011)

Marion Keel Award 2012 –

Nancy Braitmayer served as the President of the League of Women Voters for nearly a decade before turning over the reigns to Chris Eastman earlier this year. During her time, she was instrumental in the publishing of the Blue Book, the league’s biggest fundraiser and an important resource for the Tri-Town. She also coordinated several political forums in order to further the Tri-Town’s education on politics. She still volunteers her time to the League of Women Voters.

Nancy and her husband John are avid volunteers for both the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Symphony. They have established their own charity, the Braitmayer Foundation, which provides grants to help make changes in local schools. She also helped to establish the volunteer program in the Sippican School.

Described by her friends as competent, capable and willing, Braitmayer is a community-oriented woman who is willing to help out wherever necessary.

Nancy Braitmayer joins other past Marion Keel Award Winners: Claire Russell (1994); Ralph and Phyllis Washburn (1995); Annie Giberti (1996); Jay Crowley (1997); Tyler Blethen (1998); Olive E. Harris (1999, posthumously); Kathleen P. “Kay” Reis (2000); Loretta B. “Lori” Schaefer (2001); Ann and Warren Washburn (2002); Andrew Santos Sr. (2003); Eunice Manduca (2004); Annie Giberti (2005); A. Lee Hayes (2006); Horace “Hod” Kenney (2007); Margie Baldwin (2008), Jack Beck (2009), Dr. John Russell (2010), Jane McCarthy (2011)

Rochester Keel Award 2012 –

A lifelong resident of Rochester, Thomas Gayoski Jr. worked at the helm of the tax department as Tax Collector for 42 years before retiring in 2011. His service to the town of Rochester as Tax Collector is the longest in the state of Massachusetts.

In 2004, Rochester had 100% collection in real estate taxes thanks to Gayoski, making it the only town in Massachusetts to do so that year. Gayoski is known by all town officials and keeps its best interest in mind. He will address issues to Selectmen and other committees without hesitation.

An avid cranberry farmer, Gayoski is always on top of his harvest, making sure everything is taken care of in the middle of the night.

Also known as a dear friend, Gayoski is known for dropping in and checking in on his friends when they need him. In addition to working as Tax Collector, Gayoski has been very involved with various youth and adult sports programs such as hockey and softball, where he volunteered as both a coach and an umpire. He has also been a participant in the annual Rochester Boat Race.

Thomas Gayoski Jr. joins other past Rochester Keel Award Winners: Joseph McCarthy (1994); Jean Fennell (1995); Katherine Hartley Church (1996); Chris Byron (1997); Albert Alderson (1998); Arthur and Aline Lionberger (1999); Kenneth E. Daggett (2000); Georgia D. Chamberlain (2001); Mary P. Wynne (2002); Evelyn F. Benner (2003); Mike Meunier Sr. (2004); Arthur F. Benner (2005); Pamela J. Robinson (2006); Anna E. White (2007); John E. Lafreniere (2008), Cathy Mendoza (2009), Kate Tartleton (2010), John Cobb (2011).

Edited by Katy Fitzpatrick

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