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SWAMI VASUDEVANANDA, LEFT, a teaching monk at the SYDA ashram in South Fallsburg, chats with SYDA Foundation award-winner Ed Field of Monticello on Monday.

SYDA Foundation Award
Goes to Monti's Ed Field

By Ted Waddell
SOUTH FALLSBURG — October 19, 2001 – Edwin M. Field, a man described by family and friends as “a guy who just can’t say no” or “a person who makes a difference,” is the recipient of the SYDA Foundation’s 2001 Community Service Award.
On Monday, Field was honored by SYDA at their 16th annual Community Service Award ceremony, held at the meditation center in South Fallsburg.
Ed Field was recognized as SYDA’s 18th recipient of the distinguished award. The SYDA Foundation Community Service Award was established in 1985. Each year, a monetary award is given to an outstanding citizen of Sullivan County whose service and commitment to the community deserves recognition. Recipients are selected by past award winners.
Past recipients of the community service award include Sister Kevin John Shields (1986), Mary Ellen Campbell (1987), Terry Hulse (1988), Allan Dampman (1989), Elaine Giguere and Gloria Krause (1990), Dr. Joseph Lauterstein (1991), William and Dr. Kathrine McCaffrey (1992), Jess Abel (1993), Rabbi Polonsky (1994), Nel Miros (1995), Tom Hubers (1996), Selma Field (1997), The Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke (1998), Joyce Salimeno (1999) and Elizabeth L. Berman (2000).
According to the directors of the SYDA Foundation, Field received this honor “for his varied, meaningful and inspiring contributions to the Sullivan County community. At the heart of Ed’s dedicated and full life of service is his great love of family, friends and community. . . . With a gentle and courageous heart, Ed Field has always answered the call for service and is truly a person who has made a difference.”
Bonnie Littlefield served as emcee of the award ceremony.
“You can’t say Ed without saying Selma, his partner and wife for 55 years, a truly awesome number,” she said.
Selma Field, the recipient of the 1997 SYDA Community Service Award, joined her husband at the head table.
Ed and Selma Field were married in 1947 and in 1960 founded Field Associates, Ltd., a public relations and marketing agency. Since then, he has devoted his energies to community service.
Littlefield noted the “breadth of his activities and the depth of his compassionate caring. . . . He repeatedly takes the kind of practical actions that turn our world into a better place.”
“It is rare that an individual who impacts the community in so many meaningful ways and makes such major contributions still stays out of the limelight,” said 1999 award recipient Joyce Salimeno. “He is a quiet, modest, humble doer of good deeds.”
Since serving his country in the U.S. Army Infantry Medical Corps during WWII in campaigns in Europe and Asia, Ed Field has served the Sullivan County community in numerous ways. For one, as a member of the board for over 15 years and as its president, he reinvigorated and led the Ulster-Sullivan Mediation Service and, in this capacity, helped hundreds of county residents peacefully resolve disputes.
In addition, his commitment to literacy and intellectual freedom is demonstrated by service on the boards of the Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library, Ramapo-Catskill Library System and the NYS Association of Library Boards.
Field has written and co-authored over a dozen books, including the newly published “Publicity Manual for Libraries.” He has played a key role in supporting alternative and complementary medicine in the area and is a member of the Board of the National Center for Homeopathy. In the past, Field has served as a Boy Scout leader and on the regional Girl Scout council.
Field is a founding member of the Catskill Art Society (CAS) and in 1986, was awarded the first-ever master of arts degree from SUNY Empire State College. For many years, he was well known locally for his popular newspaper column and radio show “People Who Make a Difference.”
“Ed Field is a guy who just can’t say no,” said Salimeno.
Swami Vasudevananda, a teaching monk at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center, said, “This award for service means a lot to us here at the SYDA Foundation, because the foundation is very much about service. . . . It is committed to supporting and uplifting people, to helping relieve suffering in this world.”
Commenting upon the attacks of Sept. 11, he said, “We are all citizens of the world community, and everybody in this world matters.”
Last Sunday, the local Siddha Yoga Meditation Center was linked to 253 centers in 33 countries around the world for a global conference on sacrifice.
“In our teaching, an action becomes sacred when offered in service,” added the saffron-robed Swami Vasudevananda. “Sacrifice is to do something sacred or to make something sacred by the way we do it. . . . Ed Field has offered his life to uplifting others. A life becomes sacred when offered in service.”
In presenting the 2001 SYDA Community Service Award to Field, Arnold Drogan, a member of the SYDA Foundation board of directors, said the annual awards ceremony represented an “extraordinary gathering of souls. . . . The power of a united community is so amazing.”
“In what has been described as a quiet and unassuming manner, Ed Field has reached out, and continues to reach out, to profoundly affect and uplift the lives of so many people,” said Drogan. “Ed Field has truly been a person who makes a difference.”
After receiving an award check in the amount of $2,500, Field drew a standing ovation when he announced that he was returning the money to help community service efforts: $2,000 back to SYDA for the PRASAD Project (dental health for local children); $250 for Ramapo-Catskill Library System’s literacy programs: and $250 for the library system’s Vision Program.
Ed Field received certificates of special recognition from local political leaders: Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman, Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey and NYS Assemblyman Jacob E. Gunther III.
“I always felt it was more comfortable to do rather than speak about doing,” said Field in accepting the award.
Afterwards, he added, “I’m very appreciative of SYDA’s programs. It’s an organization that has done a great deal of service, particularly in the area of dental care for children.”

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