We at The Wanderer were blown away by the number of submissions we received this year with the Tri-Town’s nominees for the 2019 Keel Award. We made the call and, boy, did you answer!
The Wanderer created the Keel Award 25 years ago in 1994 and since then has recognized one (and, on rare occasions, two) dedicated person from each of the three towns whose actions exemplify the spirit of community and volunteerism. Like the keel of the ship that keeps the vessel from sinking, the recipients of the annual Keel Award are recognized for their stalwart efforts in keeping the community on an “even keel.”
We are proud to present to you the 2019 WandererKeel Award winners – Marion’s Robert Raymond, Mattapoisett’s Lois Knight Ennis, and Rochester’s Ann Cambra.
In Marion, it was no contest. The nominations for Bob Raymond kept coming and coming. There were so many kind words written to us about him that it’s hard to even imagine Marion without his efforts to preserve the beauty of Marion and enhance it in ways that benefit all of its residents, present and future.
Raymond was recognized for his volunteer work in an array of areas, especially as the role of chairman for the committee to renovate the Town House, trustee of the Elizabeth Taber Library, and the extensive time and energy he put into the realization of the library’s new granite front entrance, handicap accessible ramp, and reading circle. Furthermore, his nominators recognized him for the generosity of his time and talents for the Council on Aging at the Benjamin D. Cushing Community Center by preparing design drawings for the room partition and the renovation of the COA and Recreation Department office space, and even by delivering to the center no longer used furniture from Brigham & Women’s Hospital where he worked as an architect, donating it to the COA.
Raymond was also recognized for his most recent volunteer efforts in the initiative to erect the new Elizabeth Taber monument at Bicentennial Park next spring. As Priscilla Ditchfield pointed out to us, in everything Raymond does for Marion he is “thorough, patient, knowledgeable, and collaborative in his approach.”
We don’t think we could describe Raymond’s contributions to our readers better than the ones who nominated him, so we will let them convey the message to you in their own words.
“An ‘even keel’ approach is exactly what Bob brings to every project he is part of in Marion,” wrote Tinker and Bill Saltonstall.
For Albert Caron, Jr., Raymond’s dedication “exemplifies that adage of ‘not giving up the ship,’ and “Raymond’s efforts epitomize his character and determination to serve the town, which will benefit Marion well into the 21st century.”
“He is certainly a shining example of someone whose stalwart efforts have helped to keep the Marion community on an even keel,” wrote Meg Steinberg.
Mattapoisett was quick to nominate its most deserving. Ennis is clearly deserving of the recognition for her involvement with the Mattapoisett Woman’s Club, of which she is a past president and the current treasurer, and especially for her role in the Taste of the Town event, the club’s largest annual fundraiser to provide scholarships to local students. Ennis also organizes the club’s yearbook, heads the club’s holiday luncheon and the annual meeting.
While serving as the town clerk, she served as the president of the Massachusetts Clerk Association and was an officer of the United States Town Clerk Association. She has also served her church by holding various key positions responsible for the continued running of the church, and has served on the board of the Cushing Cemetery.
As a lifelong resident of Mattapoisett, Ennis’ contributions to the coming together of the community, as well as the support of its young, rising residents, clearly make her a most deserving recipient of the Keel Award.
“Lois has given more time to volunteering than anyone else I know,” Roxanne Bungert wrote. “Whatever position she has held, she has served without expecting commendation or reward. Her demeanor is always reserved and unassuming.”
Gale Hudson described Lois Ennis’ countless hours of arranging and planning for the Taste of the Town event, one of the events in Mattapoisett Hudson feels is one of the most “significant social event[s] for the entire community.”
“It is my opinion that no one else deserves the Keel Award more than Lois Ennis for her many years of quiet service to any project that she has undertaken,” said Bungert.
Rochester stays afloat, thanks to its residents like Ann Cambra who contributes directly to the benefit of the seniors of her community through her near countless hours of service at the Council on Aging.
Cambra is a volunteer for the AARP Tax Aide Program during the months of February, March, and April over at the Senior Center, and every month she and her husband, Mike, prepare the seniors a special luncheon at the center. She is a member of the Friends of the Rochester COA, which raises funds for additional support for the COA’s operation while also promoting community involvement for Rochester’s senior citizens.
Cambra is also a board member of the newly established non-profit Rochester Housing, Inc., created to explore affordable housing development opportunities for seniors with the goal of assisting every Rochester senior who wants to stay in Rochester find an affordable way to continue to live in Rochester.
In 2015 Cambra won the state volunteer award from the American Association of Retired Persons, and donated the $1,500 she received from that award to a non-profit charity in Liberia that provides medical equipment and supplies to fight the Ebola epidemic in the African country.
“Ann’s compassion and dedication to the residents of Rochester is unlimited,” said Arlene Carreiro. “She is like the Energizer Bunny… going and going and going….”
We think Carreiro said it best when she said, “It is an honor to nominate a woman that I highly admire and respect…”
Congratulations to the 2019 Keel Award recipients, and congratulations to each of the three towns for enjoying the fellowship of such fine examples of community servants who work tirelessly on behalf of the residents of their beloved respective towns. Thank you, Tri-Town!