VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR CELEBRATION INCLUDING SENIOR KING AND QUEEN AND HIGH SCHOOL AWARD WINNERS
A time honored tradition recognizing two are seniors and two high school volunteers who make a difference in their communities. This late afternoon celebration will crown a new King and Queen volunteer who have given a good portion of their lives to helping others. We are pleased to also celebrate two high school students, who have started on the path of volunteerism and have begun to give back to their communities. Atria Merrimack Place hosts this late afternoon celebration with food a plenty for everyone.
PLEASE CHECK BACK SOON FOR OUR 2017 SR KING AND QUEEN NOMINATION FORMS
Congratulations to Ben Iacono and Janet Kolman our 2016 Yankee Homecoming Sr King and Queen.
Born in Ischia, Italy, a little island off the coast of Naples, Ben immigrated to East Boston when he was just 8 ½ years old. One of the many lifelong lessons, he learned from his parents, was to, “Always give more than you take.” Ben’s been doing that his whole life.
While Northeastern University – Engineering and Suffolk University – MBA; Ben met his wife, Maria, of 21 years, and started a family in Revere. They had 3 daughters Angela, Lisa and Amanda. Raising a family, serving in the Army Reserves and working at Bailey Manufacturing, Ben and Maria had their hands full. Realizing he needed to get closer to work; this city family moved to Newburyport in 1981.
Ben began volunteering at his daughters’ school coaching soccer, and eventually becoming the President of the Soccer League, serving as President of the middle school and high school PTO and President of the Parent, Teachers Alliance. He also got involved with CASA-Coalition Against Substance Abuse.
In 1994, Maria was tragically killed in a car accident. Ben was a widower after 21 years of marriage. He continued working for Bailey’s, kept his family strong and reached out and upped his level service to his community.
“I like to give, rather than just take.” Ben is doing just that. His list of giving is impressive. He has served as President and Treasurer of The Exchange Club for over 12 years. One of his many passions is the Field of Honor Program. Over the past 7 years, he has expanded the program’s awareness, scope and impact in our community. Ben has been volunteering with the Merrimack Valley Elder Services for years. He helps clients manage their everyday financial needs. Yankee Homecoming has benefited from Ben’s skills. He has served as Chairman of the parade, winetasting, and the road race, and now helps out with the family events in support of the Child Abuse Prevention Program.
Ben is currently President of The Friends of the Council on Aging after serving on the Board and as Vice-President. Through their fundraising efforts, members – 275 strong raised monies to help complete the construction of the new Community /Senior Center. They continue to raise money to support programs at the center.
After 32 years with Bailey Manufacturing, Ben is semi – retired, and now helps people organize and declutter with his company, Organize-Simplify It. Something he is very good at.
When Ben is not working or volunteering he’s busy at home with various construction projects or gardening, or he’s off kayaking, running, hiking or snowshoeing in Maudslay Park with his fiancée Joan.
Ben is the epitome of volunteerism and Active Aging. He shares his skills and wealth of experience with others. He keeps his body moving, his mind engaged and his spirit nourished. Ben’sIH
Ben’sBA advice to others: “Be involved; don’t be afraid to take part in things. A person has a lot of skills and knowledge, time and energy. It’s a shame to go through life and not contribute.”
Jan arrived in Newburyport in the 70’s during a challenging time for the city. She dug in with her husband Paul, and has been here ever since. Together they raised their family; a daughter LeeAnn and their son David. They have both made significant and lasting contributions to the people of this community.
Jan worked as an insurance underwriter until the birth of her daughter and left work to devote her time to raising their family. She didn’t just sit at home, Jan got involved with the PTA and the Parent Council eventually becoming President. And, of course, she became a den mom when David was a Scout. Being a restless tour de force, she started working 2 part-time jobs, including the next 26 years for Lombardi Oil.
Jan started working for Beacon Hospice as a home health aide. “It was the best job I ever had in my life. It was a gift.” Her time spent with families, helping them to make a connection with their loved ones and ease the transition, was invaluable. Jan’s emotional and spiritual investment in her time at Beacon helped shape her vision of who she is, and how she can best make a difference in people’s lives. This experience sustained her family through their own emotional journey with the death of their son David¸ who died six years ago from cancer.
Jan continues as a Hospice Volunteer through her connection as a Singing Belle. Jan joined the singing group of ten women; as youngest voice. For years they traveled around the Northshore visiting nursing homes and community groups spreading cheer and smiles. The close knit group disbanded some years ago, but Jan continues to visit her close friends.
Trying to live up to the advise her grandmother gave her, “Always keep God in your life and give God to other people.”, Jan’s faith is strong and her involvement in the church ever present. Since 1976 Jan has been a lector at Immaculate Conception and is a Eucharist Minister. She teaches religious education and is one of several cooks who volunteer with the soup kitchen with their Breaking Bread program. Jan also is a Chaplin with St. Vincent De Paul. For 10 years she has been helping families in need. The annual N.E. Tenors Concert and Walk for the Poor are the major fundraisers in support of their efforts.
Outside of her church involvement, Jan serves as Treasurer for the Newburyport Society for the Relief of Aged Women. NSRAW supports women over sixty in the greater Newburyport area. She also drives the long distance trips for the Council on Aging whenever necessary. For the past 6 years Jan has volunteered for Old Fashioned Sunday, part of Yankee Homecoming.
Jan’s passion for her family, her church, and her community is reflected in her everyday life. “You never know where someone has walked that day, so we must try to be as patient and understanding and kind as we can be.” As someone who loves helping others, Jan has made an enormous difference in the lives of all those who she has touched through her everyday actions and acts of kindness.