RUMFORD — Ten people who served on municipal government boards and committees and some who are still serving were recognized Thursday night by selectmen and Town Manager Carlo Puiia.
They are Ed Flynn, Joe St. Pierre, Angela Arsenault, Jolan Ippolito, Mary Hickey, Marsha McKenna, Brian Gagnon, Peter Perry, J. Arthur Boivin and Frank DiConzo.
Selectmen and some in the audience gave each a standing ovation after Puiia shared anecdotes and sentiment about all.
Flynn served on the SAD 43 board for more than 25 years, Puiia said.
“When you think of 25 years — a quarter of a century — what takes place?” he asked the larger-than-usual crowd attending regular selectmen's meetings.
“Just think to yourself what has happened in the last 25 years. Here's a gentleman that took 25 years of his life to give to the school system.”
“Now the school system is a separate body, but he represents us and anytime there was a meeting, he had two things that he was always thinking about,” Puiia said.
“One, that he wanted the school to be the best that it could be, and he wanted it to be the best for Rumford. I just have the greatest respect for this man.”
Flynn, who is on oxygen, was helped to a chair by the podium by his granddaughter Stacy Fortin.
St. Pierre served 18 years on the sewer district.
“We're very grateful that we have people who will serve and make sure that facility is kept up to the standards that it needs to be,” Puiia said.
Arsenault served 11 years on the Finance Committee. Puiia recalled that as a child he slept over at her house and she took care of him when he was sick during the night.
“This woman, she gave me the care and attention that a mother would give, and I've always felt close to her family,” he said.
Ippolito, Hickey and McKenna were absent. Ippolito served 21 years on the Finance Committee, many as chairman, Puiia said.
“This man was one of the best diplomats for Rumford,” he said.
Hickey served as the health officer for 17 years from 1992 to 2009. McKenna served 25 years as animal control officer.
Gagnon served 15 years on the Board of Assessors.
Perry was awarded the recognition posthumously because he passed away earlier this year while serving his 32nd year. Puiia said Perry did that in two stints — 15 years and 17 years. Perry's daughter Janet Perry Quintero of Dover, N.H., accepted the plaque on his behalf.
Puiia said Boivin helped establish the town Information Center on Route 2, served as selectman for three years, one as chairman, and served on the school board as chairman.
For as long as Puiia can recall, Boivin has been the only member who served as chairman on both boards.
“It takes a unique individual to do that and we owe him a great round of applause, because not only does he serve the town of Rumford as a municipality and the school board, he also serves in the community, and also I give credit for his thoughtfulness to put the shields up on Congress Street in a time when we really needed to recognize our veterans,” Puiia said.
The patriotic-painted shields recognize those serving in the military overseas from the River Valley area.
DiConzo served as a selectmen and 18 years on the Finance Committee. He also served on the SAD 43 board and is still serving on the Region 9 school board.
“He was always willing to give a little bit extra, to volunteer for things maybe other people didn't have time to do,” Puiia said.