Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sue Dove, far left, and President Tracie Barnes, second from left, officially proclaim David Sheppard, middle, Ted Astemborski, second from right, and Dan Labeille, far right, the 2011 Skaneateles Citizens of the Year.
continued Speaking on behalf of Labeille, Meg O’Connell of the Allyn Foundation acknowledged her respect and admiration for a man she has known since 1989. She described many of Labeille’s accomplishments including more than 30 years of teaching, and his successful fundraising campaigns for many community organizations.
Labeille, currently a board member on the Skaneateles Education Foundation, is a member of SAVES and a volunteer for the Skaneateles Early Childhood Education building campaign. He is also a founding member of the Skaneateles Festival and recently joined the board.
Following O’Connell’s tribute, Labeille addressed the crowd about what he says is a crisis the country is facing over the lack of volunteerism.
“If I can do anything tonight, it would be to call on you to think about that problem, and what Skaneateles and other communities face in the future,” he said. “I hope we can find a way to inspire young people to become volunteers, to become committed to organizations that are so worthwhile and absolutely essential to the livelihood of a community.”
Calling the award an “honor,” Labeille said he accepted it on behalf of the many local volunteer organizations.
Jed Dove, husband of the chamber’s Executive Director Sue Dove and member of the library board and Sons of the American Legion, spoke on behalf of third honoree, Sheppard.
Aside from Sheppard’s many community accomplishments, Dove spoke personally of the man he has known his entire life as a neighbor and a close family friend. “[Sheppard] is the type of man, and the type of family, that has made Skaneateles what it is, and maybe what Skaneateles is losing,” said Dove in regards to the downfall of volunteerism throughout the state.
While Dove told stories of his father and Sheppard riding toboggans through the blizzards, he reminded the smiling faces that when Sheppard puts his mind to something, he “goes full throttle.”