TOWNSEND -- Twelve years ago, the William E. May Endowment Fund was created to honor a Townsend resident who has given of themselves and their time for the betterment, well-being and quality of life of the town's seniors. The first honoree was former Police Chief William E. May, for whom the award is named.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, Russ Moore, 70, was the honored recipient, chosen by the Friends of the Townsend Seniors and the William E. May Endowment Committee. Over 130 people came out to enjoy the festivities and congratulate him for this honor. Wife Marjorie and stepchildren Michael and Kelly Dwyer were there along with brother Steve Moore, who gave a brief, funny speech. Russ' children, Kenneth, Michael, Julie and Tom, all live outside New England, and while they all sent their congratulations, none were able to attend.
Held at the Townsend Ridge Country Club, tickets were $50 per person and the evening included a roast turkey dinner catered by Bailey's Bar & Grille in Townsend.
Since its inception, the endowment fund has raised more than $50,000. A nonprofit investment firm located in Fitchburg called The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts invests these funds.
Here are some remarks from the speech made by Steve Moore.
"My family was supportive of me giving this speech tonight. They're especially supportive of the idea that if I screw it up, they'll have something to laugh about for years to come.
"Russ is part of a five-generation family, from his mother down through his children -- Mike, Tom, and Julie -- sixteen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
"Russ's business here in Townsend, Moore Enterprises, has provided telecommunications products and services to other area businesses for more than 20 years now. The role of small businesses in our community and across America has received lots of attention recently and in this time of high unemployment, Russ has been able to continue to provide jobs for his employees.
"Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, 'The life of a man consists not in seeing visions or in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.'
"Russ has a long record of service. He's a Vietnam veteran from his time in the Navy, and was part of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. He's a member of the American Legion Miller Terrell Post 199, and the Townsend Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6538. At the VFW, he's been selected as both the quartermaster and the commander, and he's also served as the town's veteran's agent.
"He's done volunteer work for the Townsend Boy Scouts and the Little League, he's served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and he was a charter member of the Townsend Recreation Committee. He currently helps Townsend Ecumenical Outreach as a donor and a volunteer. At the TEO, he goes on the monthly truck drive to pick up food at the Greater Boston Food Bank, and on distribution days he works at the Bayberry Hill food pantry, packing and delivering food boxes with other volunteers.
"Russ's interest in helping seniors perked up when he realized that he'd been one for many years himself. He advocated for construction of the new Senior Center building while a member of the Senior Center Building committee. He works on various projects for the seniors, in particular the popular bus trips.
"He has served as treasurer and president of the Friends of the Townsend Seniors, and he takes on many fundraising activities for the Friends.
"The most notable recent event in the history of the town was Townsend's 275th Anniversary Parade in 2007. Russ drove his truck in the parade. He wanted to ride on the Townsend Seniors' float, but they told him he was too old.
"So now you're further acquainted with this august personage we honor tonight: My older brother, your neighbor, friend of the seniors, Russell Moore."