Norwich Gala is blooming to be a success

Norwich Honors a Citizen of the year and several stewards of Norwich

Hello Norwich:

The  Norwich Women's Club Spring Gala Online Auction opened (Friday)  March 9 at 9:00 am and runs through 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 22.  Click here to go right to the auction:  It’s easy to create an account and get started. 

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Here are a few items available from this years auction:  "A sample of the great variety of Auction items, thanks to the generous donors".

Dan and Whit's Door mat

Fresh Water Fishing Flies

A print by Kate Emlen

There are over 100 items online – literally, something for EVERYONE! Dining certificates for local restaurants, CVS gift cards, Sandie Anderson’s carrot cake, tickets to Northern Stage, Opera North and The Nugget, My Brigadeiro chocolates, AND the opportunity to take over and design one of the front windows at Dan & Whit’s to publicize whatever you want!  And many more items and experiences…  

Most of these items can be acquired at a significant discount off retail value and bidding on any one of them supports the Norwich Women’s Club Community Projects Fund, returning the money right back to the Norwich community.  This is a way to show your support even if you can’t attend the Gala on March 24th (but we hope you can!)  For Gala tickets:

click here: 

The  money raised means more money going back to community organizations, including MCS, the library, the Family Place, the Child Care Center in Norwich, and about 20 other organizations.  

Thanks in advance for your support of this worthwhile cause. The Norwich Women's Club is: hoping to raise more than the $33,000 that was raised last year, and redistributed to above organizations.  We will be honoring Mr. Bill as citizen of the year and several stewards of Norwich. 

The below paragraphs tell the real story of their accomplishments

Citizen of the Year

For the last six years, Bill Hammond has been an outsized presence in the lives of the children who attend the Marion Cross School. The school is a happy, productive place and the entire town of Norwich has benefited. For that reason, the Norwich Citizen of the Year Committee has named Bill Hammond its 2018 honoree; following the National Association of Elementary School Principals which named him as the 2017-2018 distinguished national principal.

What may be most remarkable is that Mr. Bill is revered by students, parents, and teachers alike. “I don’t think there’s a kid in the school,” one teacher says, “who doesn’t adore him.” A parent comments, "Mr. Bill has handled every challenging parent with dignity, respect and an attitude that truly wishes to help the student, not anyone else's agenda or issues.”

But perhaps the strongest words of praise come from some of the people who wrote to the Citizen of the Year Committee nominating Bill Hammond. "Norwich children are being raised with a sense of ‘service to others' through many projects, fundraisers, and educational exploration,” one person wrote. Added another, "Bill’s creativity, leadership, patience and dedication positively impacts class after class of Norwich elementary school children, providing them with the confidence and appetite for learning that will nourish them for the rest of their lives.”

Stewards of Norwich

The Citizen of the Year Committee has also come to recognize that naming a single honoree in a year is, really, inadequate. The sheer number of generous-spirited, industrious, and creative people who pour their time and energy into making Norwich and the Upper Valley better is humbling. We can’t recognize them all. But we can recognize at least a few. So this year, those two people are Barney Hoisington and Linda Gray, whom we’re calling “Stewards of Norwich.”

Up until a few years ago, if you went to the transfer station, you saw Barney Hoisington, regardless of the weather. Barney was the soft-spoken, polite man collecting any returnable bottle or can with a 5-cent deposit on it. He sorted them, made sure the redemption label was visible, got them ready for a redemption center… and then donated the proceeds to the Haven and other nonprofits. He raised thousands of dollars a year this way. As the person who nominated Barney put it, “He is a truly generous man who gave of his time and resources to mine contributions from the discards of our community."

You know Linda Gray, also — if not in person, then by virtue of the “Solarize Norwich” collars that have adorned the Citgo pole outside Dan & Whit’s. Linda has been a moving spirit on the Norwich Energy Committee for close to a decade. The committee does a lot: signing people up for weatherization initiatives and home energy audits; getting the town, the school, and the library to buy solar-generated electricity; winning the grant that produced the EV charging station at Dan & Whit’s; helping the Fire District move toward hosting a solar array near its Route 5 pump house. But more than anything else, Linda has become the face of—and the courteous, persistent, unstoppable force behind—the Solarize Norwich campaign. The result? Some 20 percent of the town either has solar installed or participates in off-site community solar. That is remarkable by any measure.

Finally, there is Arthur Owen. When he died in September, his obituary in the ​Valley News​ noted, “It was not long before many people of the Upper Valley came to know Arthur as the go-to man for fixing foundations, digging septic systems and driveways, plowing, landscaping, and various other jobs." To quote from the person who nominated him: “Arthur was the linchpin of the Beaver Meadow, West Norwich community. His bulldozer, excavator, trailer, and plow truck were constantly going out on some mission to help people. He pulled most of us out of a ditch, (or worse) in the winter, fixed our cars, repaired our furnaces, and repaired our generators. He worked long hours and sometimes all night helping people when the circumstances required it. Sometimes he did it as a paying job. Sometimes he was just doing people a favor and refused payment. (He never turned down an offer of lunch or pie, however!)”

The members of the Norwich Citizen of the Year Committee consider it an honor to recognize Bill Hammond, Barney Hoisington, Linda Gray, and Arthur Owen this year.

A special thank you to The Norwich Citizen of the Year Committee: Cheryl Herrmann, chair; Lisa Christie,Dan DeMars,Laura Duncan, Rob Gurwitt, Don McCabe, and Signe Taylor for their efforts on this project and stories of the honorees.

Cheryl Herrmann and Citizen of the year for 2017 Jay Van Arman

Last Years Attendees

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