Apr 25, 2013 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Charlie Farrell and Dawn Custer both embody the volunteer spirit.
For this reason, these two individuals were named the 2012 Man and Woman Volunteers of the Year by the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center, a recognition that dates back to 1961.
“These two are among thousands who represent Baldwinsville,” said Sarah Baker, after announcing Farrell was this year’s male recipient.
As last year’s female recipient of the award, Baker spoke about Farrell’s many contributions to the community, which included being a 35-year member of the Baldwinsville Rotary Club and a 2003 Paul Harris Fellow recipient as well as kindly volunteering to be a guest speaker in her class when she was a teacher at Baker High School.
Upon accepting the honor, Farrell said his greatest accomplishment as a volunteer was helping to launch Canton Woods Senior Center.
“Canton Woods has always been my baby – it is the pride of Baldwinsville,” he said noting the facility was the first senior center located outside a major city in the state of New York. He also imparted words of advice he had received from his father – “You give back to the people who gave to you.”
Upon learning she had been selected as this year’s recipient, Custer modestly quipped, “See what happens when you give away a couple of cupcakes.”
Her many contributions to the community were heralded by the 2011 Man of the Year Ed Barlow who called Custer an “energetic lady” who is always ready to lead a committee or provide donations.
“She is a champion for her adopted hometown of Baldwinsville,” he said noting she has served the community in many capacities that include volunteering for the Friends of Beaver Lake and the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce.
Custer’s advice upon accepting the recognition – “Think about trying to be kind,” she said.
This year marks the BVC’s 15th anniversary as an independent agency.
Executive Director Nancy Conley took a few minutes to mark the occasion by visiting the organization’s beginnings, which started with a local effort led by Beatrice Brown in 1963. Conley said by 1964, a Baldwinsville branch of the Syracuse Volunteer Center opened locally and remained intact through the mid-1990s when the organization began to face declining revenue and moved to merge with the United Way. While the Baldwinsville branch was active, the United Way did not support the idea of branch offices, she continued. However, recognizing the office was vibrant with volunteers, the United Way helped to launch an independent Baldwinsville Volunteer Center, which became an official not-for-profit organization in May of 1998.
Mark Baker emceed the April 20 ceremony held at the Clarion Inn on Farrell Road. He opened with an ode to the old Yorker Market, which was torn down earlier this year, singing his lighthearted tribute to the tune of The Beatles’ hit “Hey Jude.” While his lyrics thoroughly entertained the crowd, his words that followed set the tone for the evening: “Things in America aren’t so bad – our government, our people, we are about taking care of each other.”