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Mansfield's Outstanding Citizens - The Max Colegrove Award
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Wellsboro Gazette – January 28, 1987
Mansfield Chamber Plans Outstanding Citizen Award

Residents served by the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce are being asked to submit the names of nominees for the first annual Max Colegrove Outstanding Citizen Award.

The award will be presented during a special dinner set for Friday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Holy Child Parish Hall, Mansfield.

Members of the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber decided to name the award for Max Colegrove who was a member of the organization’s board of directors at the time of his death on Aug. 19.

At the Chamber’s December board meeting, a committee, composed of President Mary DeWane and Director Bill Waldman, was appointed to draw up the ground rules for an award to be named in Colegrove’s honor.

"Max exemplified the characteristics of the outstanding citizen and this is the Chamber’s way of acknowledging his contributions, both to the organization and to the community at large," DeWane explained.

For that reason, she noted, the award will be presented to Colegrove posthumously, plus another person will also be selected to receive it for 1986.

"Each year’s recipient will receive a personal award and will have his or her name engraved on a permanent plaque that will be kept on public display," DeWane said.

The citizen chosen for this honor must be an individual from the greater Mansfield area who has made an exceptional contribution to the community during 1986.

"Ballot boxes have been placed in several places downtown, including the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber office, Commonwealth Bank & Trust Co, First Citizens National Bank, and Super Duper, all in Mansfield, as well as Marvin’s Market in Covington," DeWane said.

Those who cannot get to one of the ballot boxes, can mail the name of his or her nominee to the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 401, Mansfield, PA 16933.

DeWane stressed, "Those wishing to nominate someone for the award must list their reasons for doing so on the ballot."

Nominations will be accepted until Tuesday, Feb. 10. At that time, a panel made up of representatives from local service organizations will be asked to count and review all the ballots to select the 1986 award recipient.

"The winner will be chosen on the basis of the number of votes he or she received and the reasons that are given for their having been nominated," DeWane said.

In addition to his service on the Chamber board, Colegrove was a past president of the Mansfield Borough Council and served 16 years as a justice of the peace. He was past President of both the Pennsylvania and the National Association of Advertising Publishers, past president of the Tioga, Potter, and McKean Counties Consistory Club, and a member and past president of the Mansfield Kiwanis.

He received the Kiwanian of the Year Award, served on the board of directors of North Penn Comprehensive Health Services and was a member of the Journalism Advisory Committee at The Williamsport Area Community College.

Tickets to the awards dinner are available from Chamber Directors, at the Chamber office on Main St., Mansfield or at The Movie Store. Anyone on the Mansfield University campus can purchase tickets through DeWane whose office is located in Doane Center.

Those having questions or who wish to make arrangements to purchase dinner tickets may call the Chamber office at 1-717-662-3442.

1987 Helen DREAS Cleveland
1988 Fred Schirmer
1989 Chester P. Bailey
1990 Dr. Robert Sanford
Ernest Jupenlaz
1991 John Baynes
1992 Graydon Scott
1993 Rudy van der Hiel
1994 Robert Bridgman
Earlene ? Bridgmnan
1995 John Novak
1996 Ben Nevin
1997 Bob Bartlett
1998 Helen DIEFFENBACH Lutes
Winnie Neff
1999 Jack Wilcox
2000 Brenda Criss
2001 Tom Freeman
2002 Ben Hutcheson
2003 Mary Lee PETERSON Messinger
Bob Messinger
2004 Tom Wierbowski
2005 Doug Dart
Bruce Dart
2006 Fran CLARK Butler
2007 Bill Bradshaw
2008 Joe McConnell
2009 Eleanor CLEVELAND Trask
2010 Dick Colegrove
2011 Gayle ?? Hall
2012 Irene ?? Morgan
2013 Kathy ? Telep
2014 Joyce M. Tice
2015 Dennis R. Miller
2016 Deb ?? Colegrove
2017 Jane ?? Wilson
Wellsboro Gazette – March 4, 1987
Helen DREAS Cleveland Is Outstanding Citizen
by Lisa Sekellick

The winner of the first annual Max Colegrove Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award claimed that when Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce President Jim Fox came to her door to tell her she’d won, she thought he was an insurance salesman.

"I told him I didn’t need any insurance and he insisted I did," Helen Cleveland said. "Then my daughter, who was visiting me at the time, told him that I was 89 years old and bowled twice a week.

"He said I didn’t need any insurance."

Cleveland was the clear winner of this year’s award, not counting seven votes for God, Jim Fox noted at the presentation dinner, held last Friday, Feb. 27, at the Holy Child Parish Hall in Mansfield, that she received votes even from some of the other individuals nominated for the award.

The ballots cast for Cleveland noted her service to friends and community. They also listed such statements as "She sends out more cards and letters than anyone else in Mansfield," and "She always has cookies waiting for the postman."

That dedication to helping others is what helps her keep going, Cleveland told the approximately 110 people who attended the Outstanding Citizen dinner. That and her regular bowling.

A member of the Mansfield First Baptist Church and the Mansfield Hose Company Auxiliary, Mrs. Cleveland is noted for her willingness to help. She is an honored member of the Order of the Easter Star, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Mansfield 55 Plus club.

She was named the Woman of the Year for 1977 by the Mansfield Business and Professional Women’s Club and won the Grit Community Award in 1984.

Mrs. Cleveland was married to the late Welch Cleveland for 64 years prior to his death in 1982. She has three living children, daughters Mrs. Ted (Donna) Strein, Mrs. Carl (Helen) Kodish, and Mrs. Jack (Beatrice) Raymond. Two others a son, Ellis, and a fourth daughter Doris Rathbun, are deceased.

Before announcing this year’s winner, keynote speaker Robert Swinsick took time to talk about the man for whom the award is named, Max Colegrove.

"This award will be a living memorial of all the people like Max who have given of themselves and their time to the community," Swinsick said, "It is our reward in Mansfield to have been touched by his presence." 

Wellsboro Gazette – January 6, 1988
Outstanding Citizen Sought at Mansfield

The ballot boxes are all in place and residents of the greater Mansfield area can begin nominating their choice for the 1988 Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

The Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the event, now in its second year, and will present the winner with the second annual Max Colegrove Award at a dinner tentatively scheduled for late February.

Nominees must be at least 18 years of age and live in the greater Mansfield area, including the villages of Covington and Mainesburg, Roseville borough and the surrounding townships.

Ballots should list the name of the nominee and the reasons why he or she should be considered for the title of "Outstanding Citizen." They may then be placed in one of the boxes which are located at the Commonwealth and First Citizens Banks, the Chamber of Commerce office, the Mansfield Super Duper, and Marvin’s Market in Covington.

They may also be mailed directly to the Chamber office at P.O. Box 401, Mansfield, Pa., 16933. The world "ballot" should be marked on the envelope.

Ballot deadline is Friday, Feb. 13.

A panel of judges will review the ballots and select this year’s Colegrove Award winner.

The Max Colegrove Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award was initiated by the Chamber last year to honor the late Max Colegrove, a long-time Chamber member and director and community activist.

"Max was so involved in and supportive of his community that we felt an award of this kind was the most suitable way we had of showing our appreciation," explained Chamber President Mary DeWane. 

Wellsboro Gazette – February 24, 1988

Fred Schirmer was awarded the 1988 Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year Award at a dinner sponsored by the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce Saturday night. Schirmer, a native of New York who moved to Mansfield in 1946, is a regular driver for the Endless Mountains Transportation Authority and a Charter Member of the Mansfield VFW. He also serves as treasurer for the Mansfield Hospitality House. He and his wife, Gladys, live at 71 Extension Street in Mansfield and are the parents of a daughter, Kathy Mazzuchi of Virginia, and three grandchildren, Sara, Thomas and Joel. Shirmer was presented with his award by last year’s recipient, Helen Cleveland (left), and by Chamber of Commerce President Mary DeWane (right).

--photo by Lisa Sekellick 

Wellsboro Gazette, June 1989
Bailey chosen to receive Max Colegrove award
The Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce has chosen Chester P. Bailey to receive the 1989 Max Colegrove Citizens of the Year Award. A dinner honoring Bailey will be held on Monday, June 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Presbyterian Church in Mansfield. Bailey, of Mansfield, has devoted a significant portion of his life to serving the Mansfield area. A 1935 graduate of Mansfield State Teachers College, he is a member and past secretary of the Mansfield Borough Council and the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce. He is current secretary and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Mansfield. He is also director and treasurer of the Appalachian Thruway Association, a member and trustee of Mansfield Methodist Church, and author of three books on various aspects of Mansfield’s history. In a letter to the chamber nominating him for the award, the Kiwanis Club said, Bailey was “not just a joiner; he’s a doer. He has consistently undertaken leadership positions and those requiring going that extra step,” the letter continued. “Max Colegrove epitomized the term ‘community minded’ and Chet Bailey’s efforts on behalf of our community certainly make him worthy of consideration for this award in Max’s memory.” 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 9, 1990
Max Colegrove dinner scheduled for May 23
by Gayle Morrow

Mansfield – Plans are being finalized by the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce for the annual Max Colegrove Award Dinner to be held Wednesday, May 23, at West’s Restaurant in Covington.

Dr. Robert Sanford and Ernest Jupenlaz will be honored at the dinner for their service and dedication to the Mansfield community.

Mary DeWane, a former member of the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, will also be recognized with a special presentation for her work with the Chamber and for Mansfield.

The dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Chamber office in the Waldman Building or from Chamber members. 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 20, 1990

Work has begun on the Max Colegrove Senior Citizen’s Park. Construction has begun on the pavilion which was donated by Mary Jane Taylor, his daughter, James W. Colegrove, his son, has donated $1,000 toward the renovations. Additional trees, benches, a new sign, picnic tables and barbecue grills are also planned. 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 8, 1991
Baynes is Mansfield Citizen of the Year

A former band director from Mansfield High School and music professor from Mansfield University has been selected for the Mansfield Citizen of the Year Award.

Dr. John Baynes, former chairman of the Music Department and vice president of Academic Affairs at MU before retiring in 1979, has won this distinguished honor. This award, formerly known as the Max Colegrove Award, is given to an individual who exemplifies all the qualities Colegrove exhibited in service to the community.

A dinner is scheduled to honor Dr. Baynes beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at the North Dining Hall on MU campus. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce office or from either First Citizens Bank, Commonwealth Bank, or any member of the Board of Directors. 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 17, 1992
Cited for Service

Graydon Scott (center), president of Betterment Organization of Mansfield (BOOM), receives a congratulatory citation from state Sen. Roger Madigan on Friday, June 5. The award was given in recognition of Scott of being named Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year. Also pictured are Madigan (left) and Alan Reed, president of the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce (right). 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 2, 1993
Good Citizen
Glenn Davis (left) president of the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce presents Attorney Rudy van der Hiel with the Mansfield Citizen of the Year Max Colegrove Award at a dinner held May 19 at Mansfield University. Speakers at the meeting were Bob Messinger, Commissioner O. Richard Bartlett, and Borough Manager Ed Grala. 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 25, 1994
Mansfield Couple to be Feted for Their Good Works

photo by John C. Heverly

Photo Caption: Mansfield Residents Robert and Earlene Bridgman are the recipients of the 1994 Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year Award. An award dinner will be held tonight, May 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the South Dining Room of Manser Hall on the Mansfield University Campus.
by John C. Heverly

The couple who were instrumental in founding the Mansfield’s Food Pantry and Nice-as-New shop will be recognized for their good works tonight.

Robert and Earlene Bridgman of Mansfield will jointly receive the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year Award tomorrow evening, May 25, at Manser Hall’s South Dining Room on the Mansfield University campus.

According to Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce Secretary Catherine Brundage, the Bridgmans were chosen to receive the award for the many years of work the two have devoted to helping the needy in the area.

"The chamber felt that the Bridgmans were the quiet kind of people that need recognized," Brundage said.

The Bridgmans are credited with starting Mansfield’s Food Pantry, located across from the South Academy Street Playground, in 1984 and the Nice-as-New thrift shop, located behind Cole’s pharmacy on East Wellsboro Street, in 1992.

Robert Bridgman, who retired in December 1991 as a member of Mansfield University’s economic faculty, credits his wife with the couple’s involvement in projects to assist persons in need.

"The drive really comes from her," says Bridgman pointing to his wife. "She sees the need out there and feels a personal need to help."

Although they have recently ceased their day-to-day involvement in the Nice-as-New shop due to health considerations, the Bridgmans say they had devoted 40 to 60 hours per week during the past two years in an effort to get the thrift shop established.

When asked why she and her husband began devoting so much of their energies to these projects at the same time in life when most of their peers were starting to take life easy, Earlene Bridgman, a soft-spoken woman, responded, "That’s what we’re here to do."

The Nice-as-New shop operates under the aegis of Habitat of Humanity, the non-profit organization that helps low income families construct affordable housing.

According to the Bridgmans the shop’s stock is half donated and half consignment, merchandise which is sold with a percentage of the profits reverted back to the original owner.

Robert Bridgman says that quality was always a watchword when accepting merchandise for the shop.

"People would call us and say, ‘I had a garage sale and what I had left over we’ll bring down,’" Bridgman recounts as oft-repeated telephone conversation he has had with anonymous callers over the past two years.

Robert Bridgman says that his standard reply to such inquiries was, "If it didn’t sell at your garage sale we surely aren’t interested in it."

According to Joanne Lambert, volunteer coordinator for the Tioga County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, it has been that sort of standard that has kept the shop in business.

"It has been exactly their insistence on quality that has made Nice-as-New such a success," she says.

Considering their predilection toward volunteer efforts, the Bridgmans were asked if they are considering throwing themselves into a new cause.

"I think she’s already suffering from withdrawal symptoms," responds a chuckling Robert Bridgman.

A laughing Earlene Bridgman quickly refutes any potential inference that she is desperate for a new mission, saying, "I think I’m going to enjoy some time off before I get involved in anything new."

Her husband adds that volunteer service has never been a chore.

"For both of us, it’s been fun; it’s never been work," he says.

According to Brundage, tickets for the awards dinner, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., are available for $10 at the chamber office at 14 N. Main St.

All those attending the event are being asked to bring a canned good to benefit the Food Pantry in Mansfield. 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 1, 1995
Jack Novak was honored as the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year at a dinner held at the United Methodist Church Wednesday evening, May 24.

Richard Wilber, Ronald Boyanowski, his daughters Jill Wood, Jody Thomas and Jennie Novak all spoke in glowing words and with lighthearted touches about Jack’s past and present.

Tom Freeman was emcee. About 65 persons attended including three of the Colvegrove children: Mary Jane Taylor, James and Richard Colegrove. 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 17, 1995
Mansfield Names Former Principal as Its Citizen of Year


Photo Caption: John E. Novack
by John C. Heverly

A former Mansfield elementary school principal has been named the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year. John E. "Jack" Novack will be feted at a dinner to be held Wednesday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Mansfield.

Each year, the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce selects a Mansfield resident who has demonstrated exceptional service to the community.

"The award was named several years ago for Mr. Colegrove and each year we try to nominate somebody like him to receive the award," explained chamber member Cindy Wilson in reference to the late Max Colegrove, who founded The Pennysaver.

Wilson said that while Novack is involved in many local civic and social organizations, it was the way he performed his duties for 27 years as the Warren L. Miller Elementary School principal that clinched his selection for the award.

"He’s always done things above and beyond what a principal was supposed to do," Wilson explained.

"Mr. Novack really took an interest in all the kids that went to school there and made them feel that they were loved and cared for," added Wilson.

Novack said that the chamber’s decision came as a complete surprise to him.

"Obviously, I’m very pleased and honored by the news, but I really didn’t think anything I did, as principal would have qualified me for this type of award," Novack said.

Novack started as principal at the Mansfield elementary school at the age of 29 when the school opened in 1966. He remained at the Miller School until his retirement in June 1993.

Novack, an Attica, N.Y. native, says that he was not daunted at becoming a principal at such a young age, because he had a clearly defined set of goals.

"Frankly, I felt I was pretty focused, and I felt that all schools should be absolutely child centered and that all the activities in a school should be geared at making the activities fun," Novack explained.

"I don’t think that means there should be a carnival-like atmosphere, but I always used to feel that every teacher should be able to do something for somebody else’s child that they would do for their own," Novack elaborated.

That philosophy extended especially to special needs children. or "exceptional children," as Jack Novack calls them.

"I would say that the view in 1966 was that the general public didn’t think too much of them," said Novack.

Novack, a special education teacher at the time, said until about 25 years ago, an exceptional child’s lot in life was not a pleasant one.

"I think that many of the types of adults you see in group homes today are the result of the educational practices in effect before we learned the compassion necessary to teach these people," explained Novack.

Novack said that most of the cultural evolution with regard to exceptional people came as a result of the development of a comfort level on the part of their parents.

Said Novack, "One of the barriers that had to be broken was that parents had to accept the problem."

Since his retirement from the Southern Tioga School District in 1993, Novack has kept busy by supervising student teachers for Elmira College and working as an instructor for the College of the Finger Lakes.

Novack also has a long list of community involvements and participation on boards, including the Mansfield Area Rotary Club, the Mase Foundation, the Pine Creek Arts Council, the Guthrie Healthcare System, First Citizen’s National Bank and the Green Home.

Novack and his wife, Jane, are parents to three daughters, Jenny, Jill and Jody.

Tickets for the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year Award may be purchased from the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 5, 1996

The Citizen of the Year dinner, honoring Ben Nevin was a grand affair. The firemen’s hall is a nice place for a dinner and the food was good. Dessert topped the meal with the honoree’s favorite, black forest cake. Sylvia Crossen and the Cross Trail restaurant did it properly. The men’s chorus sang well, Mrs. Kathryn Dyck conducted a singing by the group and brief talks honored the Rev. Nevin. Former recipients of the award were present: Graydon Scott, Rudolph van der Hiel, Earlene and Robert Bridgman and Chester Bailey. It was nice to see all the Colegrove family there, too. 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 4, 1997
Mansfield Honors Bartlett as Citizen of Year

photo by Bruce Dart

Photo Caption: Bob Bartlett, Mansfield’s Outstanding Citizen for 1997, is presented with a plaque bearing his name by last year’s recipient, Benjamin Nevin.

by C. R. Clarke

Robert Bartlett of Mansfield was honored by the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night, May 27, as Mansfield’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year for 1997.

Bartlett, owner of Bartlett’s Trucking, Mansfield, was selected from nomination from community members collected in April and May.

The recognition dinner was the 11th such affair, and included the presentation of a plaque inscribed with Bartlett’s name as Mansfield Citizen of the Year.

Founded in the memory of the late Max Colegrove, the award is given in recognition of community service and good citizenship displayed by the recipient, who is selected by a committee made up of chamber members.

[Beginning of line is unreadable] ner were several of Bartlett’s friends and relatives, including his younger brother, O. Richard Bartlett, former Tioga County commissioner and now a resident of Harrisburg.

O. Richard Bartlett served as emcee for the dinner, and introduced several speakers who toasted and "roasted" Bob Bartlett in a lighthearted manner.

"Bruce Dart, award committee member, said Bob Bartlett’s contributions to the community, are too numerous to list and often not known by the general public.

"He just kind of does a lot of things behind the scenes," Dart Said, "He brings his flat bed truck down for any parade to be used for the judges stand anytime anyone needs it," Dart said.

Dart also noted that Bartlett has helped the borough more than once.

"We recently hired him to haul a belt filter press for the sewer plant weighing several tons from Pittsburgh, and he gave us a low quote to begin with and then charged half of that when it was all done with," Dart said.

Among the speakers at the dinner were Bartlett’s friends and business associates including fire chief Rick Roupp, who works with him in the Mansfield Hose Company; Bill Bradshaw, who is a fellow Lions Club member, Lorna Crumb, VFW auxiliary member, Bill Herbst, fellow Mason, Keith Graver, who works with Bartlett in the Mansfield Municipal Water Authority, and Bob Swinsick, current president of Mansfield Borough Council, and a high school classmate of Bartlett’s.

"Bob Bartlett is no different today than he was in school," Swinsick said in a brief telephone interview. "He always kept his word. If he said he would do something, he would do it."

Swinsick also said that Bartlett worked with him on the Mansfield Water Authority and that he is "the epitome of what the Max Colegrove Award stands for. He has done much for the community and asked nothing in return," he added.

Former recipients of the award in attendance were Graydon Scott, Chester Bailey, John Novack and Benjamin Nevin. 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 2, 1998

The Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year dinner honoring Helen Lutes and Winnie Neff was a nice affair and honored two women who have done a lot for the community for a good many years. 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 12, 1999
Mansfield Chamber Names Jack Wilcox as Citizen of Year


Photo Caption: Jack Wilcox

by C. R. Clarke

"Mr. Music," Jack Wilcox, a retired Mansfield University music professor, has been selected to receive the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year Award for 1999. Wilcox, who joined the Mansfield University music department in 1956 to teach voice, has also produced such community plays as "The Music Man" and "The Sound of Music."

In 1974 he was asked to take over the Renaissance Singers, a vocal group led by Gene Jones. The group became more pop oriented and eventually evolved into a highly acclaimed Mansfieldians. Over the next 14 years, the Mansfieldians grew into one of the most popular entertainment groups in the region.

During his 33 years of education at MU, Wilcox taught hundreds of students. Many of them honored him in October 1996, when they came to Mansfield from all over the country to perform under his direction during the dedication ceremonies for North Hall.

Wilcox will be honored at an awards banquet Wednesday, May 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mansfield United Methodist Church.

Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the chamber office at (570) 662-3442.

Wilcox will also ride in Mansfield’s Decoration Day parade Saturday, May 29. 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 17, 2000
Mansfield Merchant Tabbed for Citizen of Year

Photo Caption: Brenda Criss
by C. R. Clarke

Brenda Criss, owner of Criss’ Natural Foods, Mansfield, has been selected to be this year’s Mansfield Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. Criss will receive the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year Award at a dinner May 31.

Though not a resident of the borough, Criss, 52, of Lindley, N.Y., has had her health food business in Mansfield since 1994.

Sylvia Crossen, a fellow chamber member as well as chair of the Citizen of the Year Committee, said that the committee of five people takes the nominations for the honor each year, goes over them and picks someone who has been an example in the community, such as the award’s namesake, Max Colegrove, was.

"We don’t do it by numbers of ballots per person but by community service," Crossen said.

"Brenda has just done so much for this community," Crossen said. "To ever let that go unrecognized would just be terrible. She was reluctant to accept it because of where she lives, but it’s really what she has done here that is the important thing. She has been nominated every year for the last four or five years."

Criss has been heavily involved in community events since the day she moved her business to Mansfield, joining the chamber and becoming a member of the board the following year.

From 1997 to 1999, she served as vice president of the board of directors, and was instrumental in establishing "Decoration Day," an alternative to the traditional Memorial Day services on the Saturday prior to Memorial Day for those two years.

Criss also serves on the Tioga County Unit of the American Cancer Society’s Rela for Life board, and participates with a large team each year.

Her MASH (Making a Stride for Health) unit, a large tent modeled after the popular television series, provides food and water to teammates and other walkers during the 24 hour fund-raiser.

Last year the MASH team won the Mansfield Chamber award for most creative unit and Criss won the Presiden’ts Award from the Tioga County Unit for her work on the relay.

Criss has also participated in the chamber’s other events, including the Fabulous 1890s Week-end and the Home for the Holidays Christmas celebration.

Criss, who makes and sells her own bread at her natural food store, said her philosophy of life is simple: "Treat everyone as if they were Jesus Christ."

"You reap what you sow," said Criss, who gives away free loaves of bread to seniors who visit her store.

She is currently caring for her own elderly parents, both of whom live near her home in Lindley, N.Y. Crossen said her loving care for her family is part of what makes Criss so deserving of the honor, but is also true of many others in the community.

"We have so many people who really do fit the criteria that it’s hard to say one is better than the other, so we try to rely on the judgment of the committee," Crossen said.

The $10 each tickets are available at the chamber office, Crossen said, and the chamber would like to have a head count by May 26, if possible, she added.

"Jack Wilcox, last year’s recipient will emcee and the Mansfield women’s chorus will sing," she said. 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 6, 2001

photo by C. R. Clarke

Photo Caption: This Year’s Mansfield Citizen of the Year, Tom Freeman, is flanked by the children of Max Colegrove, for whom the award was named, (at left), Richard Colegrove of Mansfield, and at right, Mary Jane Colegrove Taylor of Shippensburg.

by C. R. Clarke

Citizens of Mansfield and Tioga County sang the praises of Tom Freeman at the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce Mansfield Citizen of the Year banquet Wednesday, May 30.

From state representative Matthew Baker to employees of Blue Ridge Communications, which Freeman manages locally, the song was the same melody with variations in harmony.

"What we need is more of the kind of servant leadership Tom exemplifies," Baker said.

"Keep on being that good role model," he added.

Freeman was the 16th Mansfieldian to receive the Max Colegrove award, named for the founder and former owner of the Mansfield Penny Saver, and former chamber member and borough council president.

Blue Ridge employee Steve Gee told the approximately 70 people in attendance that he is "fortunate to have such a good job working for a good company."

"And to top it all off, to have Tom as my boss," he said.

Gee said that Freeman’s door is always open, "whether it’s a complain, suggestion, whatever, the employees come first."

Gee went on, calling Freeman honest and compassionate and very family oriented.

"I’ve never heard him raise his voice, and never cuss. The guy could walk on water," he said.

Gee also lauded Freeman, who serves as president of the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, for the amount of time he spends doing community service projects, without any compensations.

"I believe Mansfield is a much better place to live because of Tom Freeman," Gee said.

First Citizen’s National Bank CEO Richard Wilbur stood and told the crowd about his impressions of Freeman when the two worked together on the board of directors of the Betterment Organization of Mansfield (BOOM).

"I recall thinking that I could see leadership potential," he said.

That potential turned into reality a short time later, when Wilbur asked Freeman to assume the leadership of BOOM.

"We look for people who are the lifeblood of the community, and that is what I see in Tom," he added.

Former executive director of the chamber, Phil Baldo, called Freeman a "good friend."

"Tom certainly exemplifies the citizen of the year," he said.

Baldo talked about Freeman’s concern for others, and how he tries to help with his work in BOOM and the Tioga County Development Corporation (TCDC).

"Tom is always concerned about good paying jobs, putting money into the hands of others to make their dreams come true," he said.

Baldo noted Freeman’s willingness to take up a leadership role "to get things done."

"You did it because you love this community," he added.

TCDC executive director Bob Blair thanked the chamber for selecting Freeman as the Citizen of the Year recipient.

"Tom as been a director for six years now, and we appreciate all you do, not just in Mansfield but all of Tioga County," Blair said.

Chamber administrative assistant Brenda Nittinger noted that when she called Freeman to tell him he had been selected by the committee, he was reluctant to accept this year’s honor, but that was in keeping with his humble attitude.

"He asked for the weekend to think about it," she recalled.

She also send Freeman’s son T.J., who works as an aide in the chamber office, home with in [The article is supposed to have continued on a different page, but the image is not here.] 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 5, 2002
Ben Hutcheson Honored as Mansfield Citizen of the Year
by Chris McGann

Ben Hutcheson accepted the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year award Tuesday evening, June 5, during an often humorous banquet hosted by the Mansfield Fire Company.

Hutsheson, who was joined by family and friends, accepted the award presented annually by the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

As a former mayor, boiler technician in the Navy, 35-year borough employee, fire and ambulance company member, and Little League coach, Hutcheson has contributed much to the community.

During his two terms as mayor, one of his jobs was overseeing the police department. Hutcheson and police chief Paul Shaw, a former United States Marine, often engaged in friendly banter.

The boiler technicians are referred to as "snipes," Shaw related. It is a hot, dirty job to keep the ships running.

"They are the unsung heroes of any ship," Shaw said. "Without them, the ship doesn’t go and if the ship doesn’t, the rest is academic."

Like his job in the Navy, Hutcheson also served his community without much fanfare, Shaw added.

"In all his service, he never sought accolades," Shaw said. "He is a modest, humble guy who cares about his community and family."

Mattie Lowe, a long time friend of Ben and his wife, Patty, talked about some of the good times she and her husband have shared with the Hutchesons.

"Ben, I think you are one great guy," Lowe said, "I think you deserve this award."

Borough Manager Ed Grala said he heard Hutcheson’s name some 25 years ago. Grala couldn’t understand why his car was being ticketed so quickly. Then he learned Mayor Hutcheson, who was also a borough employee, lived nearby.

"Little did I know that three years later I would be his boss," Grala said to laughter.

Grala went on to relate that Hutcheson has been a great borough employee, helped to curb the loud parties in the borough during his term as mayor in the late 1970s, secured grants for the police department during both terms as mayor in the 1970s and last year, and supported the efforts to build a new pool.

"He is a great personal friend, a great employee, a great husband and father, and one of the best things to happen to this community," Grala said.

In presenting the Citizen of the Year Plaque, Max Colegrove’s son, Richard Colegrove, said Hutcheson has a big heart.

"Tonight we have a first class citizen," Colegrove said.

Hutcheson’s son, Craig, said his father was patient, giving, young at heart and easy going. He could also be obstinate and argumentative, which helped in dealing with the borough council, Craig joked.

On the phone, he would say ‘Son, I am proud of you.’ Dad, you don’t know how much that means to me," Craig said. "Dad, I am proud of you and the community is lucky to have you."

Paul and Marianne Bozzo then showed a slide presentation featuring photos of Hutcheson growing up and in his service to the community.

"Thanks for your very generous spirit," Marianne said.

Hutcheson then talked to the crowd. He related that the committee and Patty had discussed whether he would accept the award. Patty gave Ben a phone number and told him to call and ask for Brenda.

When he called, chamber administrative assistant, Brenda Nittinger asked if he would accept the award.

"I was speechless," Hutcheson said.

He then joked that he would not have received the award if the voting took place in the winter, since he drives the snowplow and some ties plows cars in.

"I look back and I can read lips and I understand hand gestures," he said to laughter.

In seriousness, Hutcheson thanked the folks who made the Citizen of the Year award possible.

"It is really an honor to accept this award," he said.

"Borough Council President Dr. Robert Swinsick, who served as master of ceremonies, said that all the accolades cannot cover everything.

"He is a distinguished recipient of a distinguished award," Swinsick said. 

Wellsboro Gazette – September 3, 2003
Messinger Named Mansfield Chamber Citizens of the Year


Photo Caption: Bob and Mary Lee Messinger have been named Citizens of the Year by the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce. They will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, Sept. 4.

Long time Mansfield residents Bob and Mary Lee Messinger have been named "Citizens of the Year" by the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce and will be honored at a dinner in their honor Thursday, Sept. 4 at the Mansfield Fire Hall.

The dinner, named in honor of the late Max Colegrove, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets at $15 are available at the Pennysaver Office, the Mansfield Chamber Office, and Criss’s Natural Food Store. For reservations please call Sylvia Crossen at 662-0163 and pick up tickets at the door.

Max Colegrove, founder and owner of the Pennysaver, also served as president of the Mansfield Borough Council and in numerous civic organizations.

Chamber President Jaquelyn Buckheit said that "the Colegrove Citizen of the Year Dinner, one of the chamber’s most important event each year, is aptly named for a man who contributed so much to Mansfield over the years. Each of the honorees since the dinner was established have similarly given of themselves for many years to the benefit of the town."

Bob Messinger is perhaps best known as owner of the T. W. Judge Co. for over 40 years, from 1950-1993 when he retired. From 1959-1965 he was also district manager of North Penn Gas Company which was housed in the same building.

Active in the St. James Episcopal Church, Bob served on the Church Vestry in the chief lay position in the church as senior warden.

"Bob and Mary Lee were pretty much active in everything the church did," noted Rev. Rudy van der Heil, their pastor. "Both of them have been active in the church ever since they came to Mansfield."

Mary Lee served the Episcopal Church Women’s Organization, Rev. van der Heil said, serving more than once as president. She also served on the Altar Guild.

Serving on the Mansfield School Board and Tioga County School Board, Bob also served the AAA Motor Club, Corey Creek Golf Club, the board of directors for the Green Home, and the Soldiers and Sailors Hospital board.

Additionally, he served on the Mansfield University Foundation board and for 35 years, from 1960-1995, Bob served as a director for First Citizens National Bank.

Bob is often remembered for his rich voice as part of the Mansfield Men’s Chorus, the Wellsboro Men’s Chorus and the Mansfield University Festival Chorus. He also appeared in numerous Jack Wilcox-directed musicals at Mansfield University.

Mary Lee was President of the Blue Monday Investment Club of Wellsboro, served as President of the Northern Pennsylvania Arts Council and on the board of the North Penn Health Center. She was also active in the Corey Creek Ladies Golf and the PEO Sisterhood, a philanthropic educational organization.

Both the Mansfield Men’s Chorus and the Wellsboro Men’s Chorus will be on hand to honor the Messingers with performances.

Earlier this summer the Messingers sold their Mansfield home and now reside in Lewisburg.

Many of the previous honorees from the Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year are expected to be in attendance, along with several members of the Colegrove family. 

Wellsboro Gazette – June 9, 2004
Mayor Wierbowski Honored as Mansfield’s Citizen of the Year
by Arlene Welch

The 18th Annual Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year Recognition Banquet was held on Wednesday, June 2, at the Mansfield Fire Hall to honor this year’s recipient Thomas (Tom) Wierbowski.

Wierbowski, the mayor of Mansfield, was chosen by the Award Committee as the most fitting individual to receive the award. He is a retired vocal and instrumental teacher with the Wellsboro schools and now spends a great share of his time volunteering at the Warren L. Miller Elementary School, the Chamber of Commerce Office in Mansfield, and the American Red Cross.

A native of West Pittston, Wierbowski graduated from Mansfield University (then Mansfield State College) with a bachelor of science degree in music education in 1968. After completing some graduate work at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredona, he completed his master’s in music education at Mansfield in 1972.

Prior to his 22 year career at Wellsboro School District, Tom taught at Haverling High School in Bath, N.Y.; Elmira City Schools; and Hamburg Area School District. In addition Tom is a harpist and an alumni life member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonte Fraternity and a member of the American Harp Society.

The banquet was attended by 80 individuals who all came to pay tribute to a man who has provided so much to the Community of Mansfield.

Entertainment was provided by the Warren L. Miller Singers under the direction of Joan Berresford, who said, "Tom has better attendance at school than some of the students."

Numerous individuals spoke about Tom and their favorite memories of him, Dick Colegrove, son of Max Colegrove for whom the award is in honor of, said "My favorite (childhood) memory is Halloween with Tom playing the role of Frankstein at his home on South Main Street."

A neighbor, Martha Donahue, came to the podium and said, "if you have a problem with red squirrels, Tom is the man to call."

Joe Maresco, former vice president for student affairs at Mansfield University, and Dick Talbot, retired professor of music, both related meeting Tome when he was a student at the University.

David Cummings, board of directors member of the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, applauded Tom for the many hours that he has given to their office to keep the doors open and the bus depot in operations.

"Originally Tom volunteered to work in the office for six months, but that time was over in December and he is still there," Cummings said.

Mary Ann Young, a former colleague of Wierbowski’s at Wellsboro, told how supportive he was to her when she first started teaching at Wellsboro.

A newcomer to the area, Ron Vilanti, spoke about how, when asking questions about the community, Tom’s name was always coming up in the conversation.

Douglas Dart, on behalf of the Mansfield American Legion post said, "(The Post) wanted to thank Tom for his tireless efforts with the Veteran’s Park and for always making sure the flags were up on the main streets in town at the appropriate times."

Tom currently serves as the Lt. Governor Elect for Division 12C of the Kiwanis and for the past nine years has served as Choir Director and organist for the First Presbyterian Church in Mansfield. Some of the other activities he is involved in includes working with the Mansfield High School Odyssey of the Mind Team, and volunteering for the Blood Drives in Tioga County.

A plaque was presented by Bruce Dart, master of ceremonies, to Wierbowski at the conclusion of the accolades by his friends.

In his remarks upon acceptance of the plaque, Wierbowski spoke about how nicely he had been treated by the community since he moved to the area.

"I have been treated like a son by many of my neighbors through the years and that Mansfield was his home," Wierbowski said. 

Wellsboro Gazette – May 18, 2005
Father and Son Named Mansfield Citizens of the Year
by C. R. Clarke

Father and son team, Doug and Bruce Dart of Mansfield were honored at the annual Mansfield Citizen of the Year banquet Tuesday, May 10, in Mansfield.

About 100 people showed up to recognize the two, including their entire family.

Bruce’s two daughters; Heather and her husband Tony Musingo and their son Nicholas; his younger daughter Jaime and her husband Jason Ulmer and their son Jacob, as well as Bruce’s brothers; Larry, who served 21 years in the United States Navy, retiring as a senior chief, and served in Vietnam, and Tim.

A third brother, Stephen, passed away in 1999. He was a United States Air Force Veteran of Vietnam, serving in the intelligence division. Bruce is a United States Navy veteran who served on the USS Osborne destroyer deployed to the western Pacific during the Vietnam War.

His father, Doug, a United States Army veteran of World War II, is the commander of Austin Cox Post 478.

Bruce Dart’s wife, Nancy, and his mother Ellen, Doug’s wife, were also in attendance.

Emcee Ben Nevin, himself a former recipient of the award, noted that this is the first time that a father and son have ever been honored.

"Doug was the first president of MARA, working with the baseball and softball programs at Smythe Park," Nevin said.

Residents gave remarks about the Darts, including Dick Talbot, who presented a letter to them on behalf of Austin Cox American Legion Post 478, which they both belong to.

"We offer congratulations to them for being recognized as citizens of the year," he said.

"Through their leadership, the dream of the Mansfield Veterans Park became a reality," he read from the letter.

"This is an ongoing project for them, as just last week, they were at the park, planting three more pine trees donated to the park," he said.

They also spearheaded the WWII veterans recognition ceremony held last spring at the park which all of Tioga County participated in, arranging for the medals and certificates, he continued.

"This endeavor became one of the most successful WWII veteran recognition events in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," he said. There were 400 medals and certificates distributed to WWII veterans during that ceremony.

Mansfield Mayor Tom Wierbowski reminded those in attendance of the old veterans memorial in front of the library and how when it started to crumble, it was Doug Dart’s vision to relocate it to its current location.

"Thanks to the donation of the use of the land by the Army Corps and various contractors in building it, it has come to pass," he said.

Wierbowski noted that some 48 weddings have been conducted on the gazebo and families often use the park for picnics.

He also noted that the park is being copied by the Tobyhanns Army Depot almost exactly.

"This is a compliment to the design of the park, which was created by Bruce Dart," he said.

Mansfield Lions Club president Stuart Crossen said that the club recently voted to erect a split rail fence along the river edge of the park by this fall.

Eldon Cummings said that both Darts are from one of the smallest posts in the state and yet "they have done more because they have the vision and gumption to get out there and do it," he said.

Cummings, of Wellsboro, a former district commander of the American Legion, district 16, said the Darts have honored veterans, and "now we want to honor them."

"I’m pleased Mansfield has chosen to do this for them. That park will be there as a memorial to them. I’m proud and honored to be a fellow veteran," he said.

Bruce Dart, current vice commander of Austin Cox Post 478, said he was humbled to be chosen for the honor, which was named for the late Max Colegrove, a community minded resident of Mansfield until his death several years ago. His son, Richard and his family were in attendance at the banquet and helped present the awards to the Darts.

Bruce credited his father, Doug, for "getting me involved no only in the creation of the park, but also with the Legion."

"It’s something we’ve shared together and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it," he said.

He noted that the support he and the Legion have received for the park is "heartwarming."

His father said to be named with his son was the "top of the world."

He noted that his wife, Ellen, "had three sons in Vietnam all at the same time," and needed to be thanked and recognized.

He also recognized the support the Legion has received from other communities in Tioga County for the park. 

Wellsboro Gazette – April 11, 2007
Bill Bradshaw is Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year


A Mansfield resident with several decades of community service, Bill Bradshaw, has been named the Mansfield Chamber’s Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year for 2007.

The award dinner is set for Tuesday, May 1 at the Mansfield Fire Hall. Tickets, at $15 each, will be available at The Pennysaver, Photos by Dart, the Chamber Office, Northwest Savings Bank and First Citizens National Bank.

"I knew Max," Bradshaw said, "and I’m truly honored to be selected for this award in his name."

A graduate of the then Mansfield State Teachers College, Bradshaw earned his B.A. Degree and subsequently his Master of Education Degree from Mansfield University. He served as an officer in the United States Navy for four years in Flight Training, Aviation Ordinance and Officer Training.

Bradshaw spent his early career in the construction industry, and in a 20 year period, designed, planned and built several buildings in the area. From there he moved to the faculty and administration of the Pennsylvania College of Technology (formerly Williamsport Area Community College) where he worked for 25 years.

Each of several areas of community service could easily have earned recognition for Bradshaw as Citizen of the Year, including the Mansfield Lions Club, the Mansfield Hose Co. and Ambulance Association, Mansfield Borough Council and Planning Commission, and other civic organization such as the Red Cross and United Way.

Bradshaw is a life member of the Mansfield Lions Club, having been an active member for the past 57 years. He served as a board member for 20 years, including a term as president.

Still active in the Lions, Bradshaw serves as co-chair of the Eye Glass Committee and was instrumental in the fund raising through their recycling efforts to get the fence installed at the Mansfield Veterans Park.

When the first swimming pool was constructed near the high school in the 1950’s, Bradshaw was an integral part of that Lions Club project.

Over the years for the Lions, Bill has initiated numerous fund raising activities in the community, such as the highway cleanup, the "Polio Parkway," minstrel shows, a Christmas shopping spree, and more recently the Smythe Park Pavilion.

Bradshaw, in addition to being an active member of the Lions, served as a board member for 20 years, zone chairman for four years and two years as Deput Governor of District 14-G.

Professionally, Bill is a past president of the Cooperative Education Association of Pennsylvania and is a past vice president of the Pennsylvania Vocational Cooperative Education Association.

Also a life member of the Mansfield Hose Co., Bill has been a member a total of 64 years. He is a charter member of the Mansfield Ambulance Association, helping with the founding of that group.

For a period of six years, Bradshaw chaired the 4th of July antique/vintage auto show. He also served on the Vestry of St. James Episcopal church for eight years.

Bradshaw’s interest in cars led him outside Mansfield. He served as a director and secretary of the Sports Car Club.

Bill is a director of the Tioga County Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the selection committee for the Mansfield University Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame.

Bradshaw has been an active member of the Austin Cox Post 478 of the American Legion in Mansfield for the past 28 years.

Bradshaw’s daughter, Bobbi Jo Bradshaw Milton of Middlesex, N.Y., is assistant director of the Yates County Area Agency on Aging. Daughter Patti Bradshaw Ross of NYC is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College where she teaches in the Dance Department. Son Randy Bradshaw of Hazleton, Penna. is a foreman in the Traffic Control Division of Rene, Inc.

Bradshaw has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

Williamsport Sun-Gazette, June 7, 2009
Mansfield’s Citizen of the Year ‘honored’
By Cheryl R. Clarke
MANSFIELD - Eleanor CLEVELAND Trask of Canoe Camp has been named Mansfield’s Citizen of the Year. She will be honored at a dinner June 10 [2009] at the fire hall here.
Trask, 87, is the widow of Edward Trask, who died four years ago. They were married for 65 years.
Trask served for 12 years as the Justice of the Peace in Mansfield, and then became the first District Judge in Mansfield. Elected in 1958, she retired in January of 1988, after 30 years of service.
She has three children, Edward of Mechanicsburg; Connie Baynes of Tucson, Ariz.; and Tommie of Leesburg, Va. She has six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Ten months after Trask’s retirement from her judge’s duties, she and her sister Margaret Morgan open Grandma’s Kitchen, a restaurant they still own.
She and Margaret worked for 15 years in the restaurant before retiring in 2003.
“It is managed by Jane Young for us now,” Trask said.
Since then, Trask said she has been exploring the idea of creating an arts academy at her farm in conjunction with the Northern Tier Cultural Alliance, but Trask said, “That isn’t going to work out right now.”
Trask said she had a dream to establish a school where anyone who had an interest in the arts could take classes, but the poor economy has postponed those plans, at least for now, she said.
When she first learned from Mayor tom Wierbowski that she had been selected to receive the honor, Trask said she said, “Oh no, absolutely not, because I just didn’t feel I was the right person.”
“I’ve lived here all my life and loved Mansfield and am interested in it and the surrounding area, but I just don’t think I am that caliber of a person. I feel very humbled and honored by it,” she said.
Trask had the same reaction when she was selected by the former Women’s Coalition, now known as HAVEN, as woman of the year some years ago, she said. 
Mansfield Gazette, June 17, 2009 [The Marketplace section]
By Jason Przybycien
Mansfield hero reluctantly accepts award
Eleanor [Cleveland] Track of Canoe Camp wasn’t thrilled about being chosen the Greater Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s 23rd annual Max Colegrove Citizen of the Year. The former district justice and co-founder of Grammas’ Kitchen doesn’t think she’s a big deal, but the community felt otherwise.
Choosing Eleanor was easy. Convincing her to accept and enjoy the award was much harder. Speaking at the June 10 dinner in her honor, family and friends said they were honored to be a part of her community.
Trask’s oldest son, the Rev. Edward Trask, was the featured speaker. He described her life, especially some parts that concerned him, through jokes which filled the room with laughter.
After asking if he would still be in the will, Edward said he came from a family of matriarchs. Eleanor’s mother, his grandmother, had imparted her county sensibility to her daughter. In Canoe Camp, he said, there is no “Canoe Camp Creek,” only “Canoe Camp Crick.” Similarly, his grandmother always called Eleanor, “El’nor.”
That was her name, even if it didn’t fit the spelling.
“I wouldn’t have named my daughter Eleanor,” his grandmother once said.
Eleanor now has 10 great grandchildren, and they have given her a new name: Grandma Backhoe. That’s because her husband has a backhoe.
“We’re a part of what she is,” Edward said. “We all want to say thank you.”
Then, Edward revealed a few other family secrets. Eleanor was born on Sept. 11, 1921. Her 80th birthday, in 2001, wasn’t very joyful.
Also, she once threw a pie across the dinner table at Edward’s father.
“It’s out,” said Edward.
“It’s also true,” said Eleanor.
“He was fast though and he ducked,” said Edward. “It was 10 minutes in the house, and not a word.”
“Everyone laughed after that pie thing,” said Eleanor. ”We did all laugh,” said Connie Trask Baynes, Eleanor’s daughter. “But we waited for Dad to laugh first.”
Edward listed some of Eleanor’s  qualifications to be Citizen of the Year: she had never missed the chance to vote in an election, she always paid her taxes, and she helped to found the Mansfield Area Recreation Association for youth.
He added, “She had serious values. Her values were about compassion, about justice and about love, and not just love for her family and friends, but a sense of love for everyone.”
Still, Eleanor was not afraid to pass a just judgment on someone, as a magistrate or afterward. Bryn Hammarstrom, a longtime family friend from Middlebury Center, said he witnessed her judgment about two years ago.
He asked to speak to state Rep. Matt Baker, to tell him he was disappointed that Matt was the only committee vote against giving benefits to domestic partners.
Matt’s first reply was, “I just got off the phone with Eleanor, dressing me down for the same vote.”
That reputation led to Mansfield Mayor Tom Wierbowski to a cautious approach about the award.
“She was a tough lady on the bench,” said Tom.
Tom had met Eleanor through the Canoe Camp Church of Christ, where they were both longtime members and she was well known for her ham loaf.
Tom, a former Citizen of the Year and longtime member of the nominating committee, said Trask was the natural choice. Few nominations had come in this year and, after weeding out the prior recipients, Trask was easily the most nominated citizen.
“This is the kind of person who’s been behind the scenes, quietly very, very much Mansfield,” Wierbowski said.
Given the task of telling Eleanor she had won, Wierbowski stopped at her home unannounced. He thought she would avoid him if he didn’t surprise her. She was ironing a curtain at the time. Wierbowski told her she was the Citizen of the Year, and the first 10 words she spoke were “no.”
“She’s been shaking her head ever since then,” Wierbowski said. “She can finally sleep now. She’s been so worried about this.”
When it was finally her turn to speak, all Eleanor really wanted to say was “thank you.” She said that wouldn’t be enough, so she’d say a little more.
“Some place deep in my brain I’ve got a really good speech and I’m going to try to bring it forward,” she said. “That’s a joke.”
Max Colegrove had been a good friend, Trask said, when they were both district justices.
Bradford County PA
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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 07 FEB 2009
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice
The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933