By Matt Youngfrau
LOCH SHELDRAKE February 19, 2002 With 80 Livingston Manor residents in attendance (and another 80 who would have come had there been more room), Sullivan County Community Colleges Paul Grossinger Dining Room and the colleges culinary staff and students played host Thursday to the hamlets Sullivan Renaissance group and its chamber of commerce as they honored two top citizens.
The words great and special and extraordinary were repeated several times in the praises of Manor residents Shirley Fulton and Mary Fried as they became the very first recipients of the hamlets newly minted Heart of the Manor Award.
Calling them the Laverne and Shirley of Livingston Manor, emcee Steve Wilkinson of Catskill Morning Farm highlighted the accomplishments of both women, who have dedicated most of their lives to improving their hometown.
Fried, for example, has lived in Livingston Manor for 46 years and has served her community as the local school board president, cleaning up roadside litter and putting her Master Gardener expertise to work in area planters and gardens.
Fulton, too, has been active in the community shes called home for all her life, having run her Wildlife Gift Shop for nearly 25 years and creating the hamlets popular annual strawberry festival in addition to serving on the local library board and PTA, even as a professional clown for special occasions.
And when these ladies join forces, watch out. Wilkinson was clear that their leadership brought about new welcome signs in Manor during last years Sullivan Renaissance effort.
But when presented with the awards red hearts of sculpted glass both women were more content to speak of others than themselves.
Community service is a way of life here in Sullivan County, remarked Fried after receiving a standing ovation. The whole county has the same spirit as here [in Livingston Manor]. Its wonderful to be a part of it.
Youve heard of Johnny Appleseed, said Fulton while pointing to Fried. This is Daffodil Mary!
Ive enjoyed working with you, Mary, she continued. Its been fun, and youve been a great friend. Thank you.
Indeed, there were many thanks to go around, as several Manor residents helped put the dinner together, from creating the programs to assembling small gifts for each attendee.
But, of course, the focus remained on Fried and Fulton, especially when Manor Rotarian and native Gary Siegel presented each of them with $500 checks to go toward this years Sullivan Renaissance efforts. (The next meeting, according to organizer Gerard Ilaria, is at the United Methodist Church on February 21 at 6 p.m.) The dinner, too, raised funds for their plans to put planters around town and coordinate a Windows on Livingston Manor photography contest.
There are so many good things on the horizon for Livingston Manor at this time, said Town of Rockland Supervisor Pat Pomeroy to those gathered. None of this would be happening right now were it not for the foundation carefully laid, stone by stone, over the past years by Mary Fried and Shirley Fulton.
By honoring Mary and Shirley as the first recipients, the Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce has set the bar exceptionally high, she added. How many perfect 10s do we have in our town?