Thursday, July 1, 2010

Alliance Coference in South Carolina, Heritage Executiv on Sabatical, Mary Kelly Tribute, Boys and Girls Club Receives Gift, Happy Holiday,

Essex Happenings, Friday July 2, 2010

National Alliance of Heritage Area’s Annual Conference

This week a number of staff members from Essex Heritage have traveled to the fourth annual Alliance of Heritage Area’s International Conference held this year in Charleston, So Carolina. This year’s conference was held from June 27, 2010 through July 1, 2010 and was hosted by the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area. The annual conference is a wonderful time for the leadership and staff from the forty-seven Heritage Area’s now authorized by the US Congress to gather and exchange ideas and to explore “best practices” in both a formal and informal setting. The conference is examining such important topics as Tourism, Preservation, Economic Development, Marketing and the Development of Partnerships at both the national and local levels. There are tours of the local Heritage Area that is this year’s host and usually several good ideas from those excursions that come back as a plan for the local area. It will be good to have the staff back in the region just before the Independence Day holiday and since I did not attend the conference it will be interesting to hear the perceptions of those that did participate in the conference.

Essex Heritage Senior Executive on Sabbatical

Just before the holiday, Bill Steelman and his family will embark on what could be the experience of a lifetime. Bill will accompany his wife who is a professor at the University of New Hampshire on a summer teaching assignment at Cambridge University in England. Bill and family that include a couple of teen-age sons will spend six weeks at the world famous University north of London in the UK. I am certain that Bill and family will take advantage of this great educational opportunity for the two boys and much will be gained during their stay in the United Kingdom. We wish Bill at the best during his time away, and look forward to discussing his stay when he returns

Dedication of Patio to Mary Kelly

About four years ago, Mary Kelly retired as the Director of the Danvers Senior Center. She had served in that role for many years and had made a substantial impact on the seniors of the Town of Danvers. In addition to the role of Senior Center Director she also served as the Town’s representative to the Community Council. In that position she provided support to people of all ages who needed assistance. I was privileged to work closely with Mary on her all volunteer Council on Aging Board and I experienced first hand her compassion and expertise in dealing with problems of all kinds. After Mary retired from her Town position she then created a travel program at Danvers Bank that was most successful.

Earlier this year Mary passed away and that was a shock to all of us who worked closely with her over the years. Late last week hundreds of Mary’s family, friends, associates and contemporaries gathered to dedicate a community patio at the Senior Center that she was so instrumental in having built. In addition to dedicating that patio in Mary’s name, the Friends of the Senior Center planted a flowering tree next to the patio and Danvers Bank provided a granite memorial bench in her memory. The evening that finished just as a line of thunderstorms roared through the region was a wonderful tribute to the memory of a wonderful lady and a friend,

Wonderful News for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem

A couple of days ago, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem were the recipient of a most generous anonymous cash gift. The gift was the result of the long and storied relationship that the club has had for decades with the former CEO of General Electric. Jack Welch who grew up in Salem at the same time, as when I was a youth in Salem was then a member of the Salem Fraternity that was the predecessor organization to the Boys and Girls Club. I only knew Jack vaguely at that time as he was a little older and lived in another part of the City, and attended Salem High School, while I attended St. John’s Prep. I also attended the YMCA as a youth and not the Fraternity. Jack always felt very strongly about his relationships at what would become the Boys and Girls Club, and after his retirement from his incredibly successful career at general Electric, became a major benefactor of the club. A couple of years ago, I was privileged to be the co-chairman with Dr Nancy Harrington at a presentation that Jack Welch made at Salem State College for the benefit of the Boys and Girls Club that was a most successful event for the club.

Recently Jack made a presentation to the anonymous company that made the cash contribution to the club, and in lieu of a substantial fee for his presentation, he graciously asked the company to make a contribution in his name to the club. They did just that, and for that gift all of us at the Club are most grateful. As with all of the contributions that Jack has mad and been responsible for in the past, the funds will be pit to good use helping to serve another generation of youth in the City of Salem.

Happy Independence Day Holiday

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a most pleasant Holiday weekend. This day is always very special for all Americans as it is the day we celebrate the country’s birthday. This year the calendar works out to our advantage as the holiday falls on Sunday and will be celebrated for all of us on Monday. For those fortunate enough to be able to get away on Friday, this makes the holiday weekend a four-day celebration. I am spending the weekend away from Essex County and we are fortunate enough to have part of my family and a couple of our grandchildren joining Marge and I at out home on Cape Cod. We will enjoy a couple of cookouts, a round or two of golf with my grandson Casey, and fireworks from a vantage point on the beach over Nantucket Sound. We will take in a couple of Cape Cod League baseball games, and generally enjoy time together.

I hope that wherever you are celebrating it will be a pleasant tome with family and friends. There are spectacular fireworks displays all over Essex County, and I know from past experiences that the finale of the Danvers Family Festival fireworks display is always spectacular, and the fireworks and concert in Salem with the Friendship as a backdrop is always a sight to behold. In any event enjoy the Holiday, and Happy Birthday America.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thank You. Tom Leonard

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