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McGuane to receive Human Rights awards

GREENFIELD — A little more than a year after former Town Council President Martin A. McGuane died suddenly, Greenfield’s Human Rights Commission is honoring him with its first annual Greenfield Human Rights Award.

The commission will bestow the honor today, according to commission Chairman Lewis Metaxas.

The award was established this year and will be a permanent fixture in Town Hall. It will be issued each year on Human Rights Day, which is celebrated globally every Dec. 10, said Metaxas.

He said that date commemorates the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Dec. 10, 1948).

Metaxas said McGuane was nominated and cited posthumously for his work in the public arena in helping create the commission, as well as the community outreach he did to help people who needed assistance.

“Mr. McGuane, during his years as a member and officer of the Greenfield Town Council, was a proponent of the bylaw that created the commission,” said Metaxas. “Fifteen years ago, it was not being taken for granted that the town should have a commission dedicated to this concept. There was considerable debate on the issue here, as there was in cities and towns all over the commonwealth.”

He said McGuane’s advocacy came at a “critical time.”

Metaxas said the commission felt McGuane should receive the first award, because he also did a lot of work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County in promoting the adult mentoring of children and cooked for the Franklin County Community Meals program. He also worked to expand community access television in the area.

The commission will host a reception in Town Hall on a date to be announced early in 2014. There will be a formal presentation of the award.

McGuane, who died Oct. 9, 2012, following a sudden illness at the age of 55, had also been on the Greenfield School Committee at one time and had served as executive director of the Greenfield and Frontier community cable television stations.

“My passion in life has always been to help people and to effect change,” McGuane told The Recorder in 2010 in announcing his candidacy for the Second Franklin District legislative seat — a campaign he was forced to drop out of five months later.

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