B'ville's most humbling honor

Mark Baker summed it up perfectly.

"What would life be like without volunteers?" he asked during Saturday's 2007 Man and Woman of the Year awards ceremony. There would be no Community Band, no Baldwinsville Theatre Guild productions, no parades, no children painting windows on Halloween.

"Thanksgiving and Christmas would be just another day for a couple hundred families," he said. "The sick, the elderly and the shut-ins would be home alone."

After painting this dismal picture of no human charity, he continued with this is not how it is in Baldwinsville. "You've chosen to get involved, say how can I help and invest in this community, so someone you probably don't even know can have a better life."

As emcee of the event, Baker named numerous individuals present who had previously been named volunteers of the year including last year's recipients Jo Pelcher and Dick Baker. Overall, 96 individuals have received the honor since 1961 including Saturday's recipients Norma Goodman and John O'Neill.

Pelcher presented the 2007 Woman of the Year award describing many of the volunteer activities Goodman has been involved in over the years (without using Goodman's name), beginning with church and school activities up to her current and most prominent effort with Baldwinsville's Public Access Channel (PACB-TV). Since the recipients' names are withheld until the actual announcement, Goodman was shocked to hear her name called.

"It's overwhelming," she said. "I'm just so surprised."

After receiving her award, Mark Baker added, "[Norma] is as much a news media in this community as any news media. She's everywhere." He then introduced Dick Baker to present the 2007 Man of the Year award.

"I look at the list of recipients and find many who have given so much, and I feel proud to be on the list," Dick Baker began.

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