Recipients of the Holliston Citizen of the Year award, Louise Kirkpatrick and Walter “D” Robbins, were honored Saturday, September 20th, at Celebrate Holliston, with Robbins’ cousin Francis Mullin representing Robbins, who is currently ill.
Selectman Kevin Conley introduced the recipients. Congresswoman Katherine Clark presented Kirkpatrick with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition, Senator Karen Spilka gave a Senate Citation, and State Representative Carolyn Dykema presented a Legislative Citation. Dykema presented Mullin with a House Citation and a Senate Citation.
“From the first time I saw Holliston, I fell in love with it,” said Kirkpatrick in her acceptance speech.
Kirkpatrick explained that she works with the food pantry, the Lion’s Club, the Leo’s Club at the high school, and the Youth Speech program. She has also created Operation Mitten, a joint effort between the Food Pantry and the Lion’s Club to give holiday gifts to families in need.
Robbins was a member of the Housing Committee for 30 years, and, according to the Holliston Reporter, was chairman of the Committee for 7 years. He also, according to Mullin, did work for the Prison Ministry Bethany Group and gave knitted hats to cancer patients. He was also the owner of Studio D, a local barber shop until he retired.
“[Robbins] is the nicest person you’ll ever meet,” said Mullin. He added that Robbins knows everybody in town.
The committee who elect the Citizens of the Year set up eight ballot boxes around town in which people can vote for Citizens of the Year and explain their pick.
The explanations are of vital importance, according to committee members Lina Arena-DeRosa and Jane Gilfoy.
The committee then makes a spreadsheet of all the elected citizens and has a discussion on who to elect. About 8 to 10 citizens are usually considered, and there are always two chosen. The Citizen of the Year tradition is as old as Celebrate Holliston itself, dating back to 1992.
“We like to give it to the unsung heroes, the people who are behind the scenes,” said Arena-DeRosa. They often choose more elderly citizens because they’ve been doing community service for such a long time.
The committee also holds a reception the Thursday before Celebrate Holliston with all the past recipients of the Citizen of the Year award. This year was their second year doing the reception.
Kirkpatrick said that getting chosen for Citizen of the Year was “overwhelming and humbling.” When she first moved to Holliston, she got to know people through joining charities and community projects. Her favorite thing about Holliston is the people. Holliston, she said, is a “warm, caring town.”