2015 Citizens Who Care Honorees

2015 CITIZENS WHO CARE
 
The Rotary Club of Andover thanks Robert Huntley Photography for donating the photography for Citizens Who Care and Education & Student of the Year.  Thank you!
 
Claire Bishop
Originally from Arlington, Massachusetts, Claire Bishop and her late husband started their North Andover marketing company CA Courtesy in 1989.  They raised their five children in Andover, where Claire currently lives with her husband Bill Green.  In 2003, Claire was asked to serve on the Lazarus House Board of Directors and currently serves as President of the board.  Claire points out that Lazarus House is much more than a group providing food and shelter to the needy in Lawrence. Claire and the rest of the board recently finished a capital campaign, and Lazarus House is now able to fulfill a dream of opening another house.  The new facility will provide much-needed classroom space for teaching life skills, a critical part of the Lazarus House mission. A key component driving all Lazarus House programs and expansions is the reminder that most of their clientele travel only by foot.  For many years the prime focus was on transitional housing for families, now the capital campaign has made possible the opening of transitional housing for single women. They are currently staffing the new facility, so that single women will have a place to live while they find employment. Claire points out that Lazarus House is blessed to have a renowned Advocacy Team, to provide services, housing and assistance helping their clients rebuild their financial reputation and get on with their lives in a productive way. Lazarus House feeds 750 families each week, and provides daily lunch at the soup kitchen for over 200 people. This year, during record-breaking severe winter weather, the soup kitchen was turned into an overnight shelter, available to all when the temperature reached 10° or below. Amazingly, the shelter was open 13 consecutive nights in February 2015.  Claire's other community service includes a long history with St. Augustine’s Parish where she has donated countless hours.
 
Susan Connolly
 
Susan Connolly is a native of Long Island, New York, and Wellesley College graduate. Susan understands first- hand how being independent as a teenager can shape one to be a resourceful and hard-working adult.  Susan sometimes shares with the students of Andover’s A Better Chance program her own story about putting herself through college and defining her own path.  Susan started with ABCA in 2010 when her cousin invited her to attend a fundraising event.  That led to helping with upkeep of the ABC house and becoming a self-taught plumber, electrician, carpenter, and painter.  Susan took early retirement and in 2010 she became a full-time volunteer at ABC, where she continues to serve as volunteer CEO and member of the Board of Directors.  For Susan, the joy of serving defines why she does what she does.  She enjoys the unique opportunity she has to serve fully, the ability to learn from ABC’s dedicated volunteers, and the opportunity to watch the girls grow up from girls to mature young women.
 
Dave Doub
A resident of Andover since 1992, Dave was initially attracted by the character of the community.  Through Andover Youth Services, Dave coached lacrosse for fourteen years, an experience that provided both teaching and learning moments. Marta Hornidge encouraged Dave to become more involved with Andover’s open spaces and introduced him to AVIS, the Andover Village Improvement Society.  “My 18 years on the AVIS board allowed me to work with many others dedicated to preserving Andover’s natural habitat.”  Dave designed and led the construction of many bridges and boardwalks throughout AVIS lands, most notably the new truss bridge on the Vale Reservation Trail.  He has advised dozens of scouts on various projects, and led the efforts of the 50 adult volunteer wardens who maintain the 30 miles of trails on the reservations. Dave was one of the visionaries of the Shawsheen Greenway river trail concept and was the first person to accomplish the construction of a substantial section of the trail.
 
Marie Flynn
Marie moved to Andover in 1961, having grown up on Prospect Hill in Lawrence.  Marie worked in customer service at the Lawrence Post Office, where she also went to the schools to talk with children about safety.  Marie is a long-time member of QUOTA Club International where she supports QUOTA’s mission of helping disadvantaged women and children.  Through QUOTA, Marie works to provide Christmas presents for children, financial support for mothers, access to education and schooling, and care for ids.  QUOTA also supports Lawrence YWCA’s Fina House.  Through her church, St. Michael’s Parish in North Andover, Marie also works with the Pregnancy Care Center in Haverhill.  After she retired from the postal service, Marie volunteered with Andover’ Department of Community Service, where she worked as receptionist.  Marie’s volunteer work has come full circle, as she now volunteers in the mail room in the town offices, helping the people who help keep the town she loves running.
 
 
 
Annie Gilbert
Annie Gilbert was born and raised in Belmont, Massachusetts. After teaching middle school in Kansas and San Diego, Annie and her husband Bob decided it would be best to move back to Massachusetts to raise children. Settling in Andover, Annie became involved with the PTO, newsletters, dances, and other school activities, and eventually joined the Bancroft School Improvement Council.  Friends encouraged Annie to develop a district-wide focus, and so began her involvement with ACE, the Andover Coalition for Education.  Annie quickly became a Vice President of ACE and in 2009 she successfully ran for Andover School Committee.  Following her election, Annie was promptly appointed to the School Building Committee for the new Bancroft School.  As the years went on, Annie found a great deal of satisfaction being a part of the incredible team of Andover people dedicated to the success of Andover schools.  Annie has continued to serve on the Andover School Committee, having recently been elected to her 3rd term.  Annie also served on the Board of Directors of Parent to Parent.
 
 
Ted Gorrie
 
Ted Gorrie graduated Andover High School in 1981 and went on to college at Notre Dame.  Ted returned to Andover in 1992.  About 10 years ago, Ted received a letter from the President of the Board of Notre Dame reminding him that Notre Dame alumni are expected to do great things. Ted soon found a great deal of satisfaction helping his Notre Dame Alumni Club in sponsoring the Summer Service Learning Program, a program in which 250 students provide community service within their communities. Ted helped grow the local program from four to eight students.  Students get teamwork experience and the opportunity to perform community service. Ted has also worked to bring Notre Dame to Lawrence students through the Summer Scholar Program.  250 students from around the country are sent to Notre Dame for two weeks each year. As a result of Ted’s efforts, the local Summer Scholar Program has grown from four students to twelve. One of Ted's other favorite charitable endeavors is with the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club where he serves on the Board of Directors.
 
Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch was born and raised in Andover and graduated from Andover High School in 1977.  St. Augustine’s Church has been a part of his entire life: baptism, first communion, confirmation, and marriage.  Kevin believes in the importance of giving back.  What Kevin is most known for can best be described in the moment when he feels a tap on his shoulder.  As he turns he hears, “Hey coach” and standing there before him is a young person, often holding a baby.  It's someone he coached years ago, and he feels such pride as sees how far they've come.  Through Andover Junior Football League, Kevin has coached thousands of kids.  Many people know Kevin's story of the near-fatal heart attack he suffered while coaching an Andover Junior Football League game in 2009 and how people came to him and carried him through to come back to life after over 50 minutes.  Two critical questions seem to define Kevin’s character and his outlook on life: “What are you doing?  Who are you helping?”
 
 
Phyllis O'Grady
Imagine that it's 4:00 am on a crisp September morning.  You're not at home asleep or even pouring your first cup of coffee.  Instead, if you're Phyllis O'Grady, you're standing in the middle of Main Street in downtown Andover directing the set up of Andover Day.  In a few hours, over 20,000 people will crowd Main Street enjoying vendors, live music, street food, and entertainment – everything a community festival has to offer.  Later, as the sun starts to fade, tents will come down, musicians pack up their instruments, clean-up crews will make sure Main Street reverts once again to a thoroughfare, and Andover Day will be over for another year.  Andover Day co-chair Phyllis O'Grady is a relative newcomer to Andover, but the community festival of Andover Day has been a part of her life here since she first arrived.  There are as many ways to give back to the community as there are people who make up that community, and Andover and Andover Day are richer for Phyllis's dedication and voluntarism.
 
 
Amy Sebell
Charity and volunteering have been a part of Amy Sebell’s life since childhood.  Amy’s parents and grandparents were early role models.  Growing up, Amy was involved with Girl Scouts, youth groups, and her Temple.  After Amy moved to Andover in 1982, she became involved with Temple Emanuel as the chair of the Temple’s Social Action Committee.  Through Temple Emanuel, Amy works with Bread & Roses, organizing Yom Kippur food drives and cooking for 200 people once a month.  Amy says that she likes the “Roses” part of Bread & Roses.  She likes being with the people; spending time with people who are at risk, people who have to make hard decisions about how to spend precious resources: food or heat, rent or clothing.  Recently, Amy and her husband brought into her family a Lawrence High School student, a young man who needed some help. “If you live in a community,” Amy says, “you have a responsibility to support that community – not just a microcosm of the community, the whole community.”
 
 
 
 
 
Claire Stahley
Raised with a Jesuit influence, Claire Stahley’s volunteer work is “all about heart.” Claire was steeped in giving and charity from childhood.  Her parents, she says, watched for need and then always helped with love and without judgment.  When Claire moved to Andover with her husband and her children, she volunteered with the Learning, Living, Loving PreSchool at West Parish Church, and continued on with Shawsheen School, Bancroft Elementary, Doherty Middle, Andover High, and Andover Youth Foundation.  Claire is most enthusiastic about her work with Family-to-Family. “Whatever someone needs,” Claire says, “groceries, summer camp, sports equipment, transportation.”  Because she asked, surgeons have donated surgery, doctors donated eye glasses, dental care, clothing.  People are unbelievably generous, Claire says, they just need to be asked.  In her CCD classes she teaches at St. Michael’s in North Andover, Claire asks her students, “what was your act of kindness today?”  “Giving is a joy,” she tells them, “and kindness is contagious.”
 
 
 
 
Charles Zanazzi
Charlie Zanazzi is one of the fortunate few who have been able merge career and community service.  In 1987, Charlie settled in Andover with his wife, a teacher at Pike School.  Charlie joined First Essex Bank in 1997.  Both First Essex Bank and Bank President Len Wilson encouraged employee involvement in the community, so Charlie thought he had died and gone to heaven.  Both the bank and Charlie were determined to have a significant presence in Lawrence. Through Pike School, Charlie acquired an interest in early childhood issues, and became involved with Lazarus House. Charlie joined the Exchange Club, and has been involved in children's issues ever since. Charlie has served the community in many fields, including child abuse prevention.  Perhaps the most important community activity in Charlie's private and professional life at this time is GLFHC – Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. Since 1992, Charlie has worked with GLFHC to assist in its mission of providing education, as well as food/shelter/safety, and healthcare to thousands upon thousands.
 
 
EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
Mark Mercer
Andover High School teacher Mark Mercer has a passion for teaching music.  Mark teaches Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Show Choir, music theory, and music production.  Mark’s students give over 35 performances each year at school and in the community.  Under Mark’s direction, Andover High School choirs have performed in Orlando, Washington DC, Chicago, and most recently, Branson, Missouri. Mark is a champion for music teachers, “music teachers don’t always get the credit they deserve” for the major impact music can have in the student’s life.  Music can build confidence in students.  He fosters an environment that is fair and respectful, but also comes with high expectations.  Mark instituted EPIC, Exceptional Performance comes from Individual Commitment, to encourage students to give their best.  Mark brought The Tri-M Music Honor Society to Andover High School, to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and to inspire other students to excel at music and leadership. 
 
 
STUDENT OF THE YEAR
Caitlin Patten
When she was ten years old, Caitlin’s family started volunteering at Lazarus House once a month, cooking and serving meals for 30 or more people.  The experience made Caitlin realize how much she wants to help make a positive difference in people’s lives.  A member of the varsity soccer team, Caitlin participates in the Warrior Way, a program where student athletes visit middle school classrooms to talk about leadership skills. Caitlin demonstrates those leadership skills as part of Student to Student, in which seniors mentor incoming freshman as they navigate their first semester of high school.  Caitlin continued to mentor students through the Frost School Program, mentoring 3rd and 4th grade students at the Robert Frost Elementary School in Lawrence on reading and math.  Caitlin connected with her students and wanted to continue working with them after the semester ended.  That wasn’t an option as a school course, so Caitlin made the commitment to continue working with her classes as an after school activity.