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Letter: Criticism off base

As a Hawley resident and Korean War veteran, I take strong exception to Lisa Turner’s letter (May 19) excoriating the town’s Selectboard for supposedly “snubbing” two deceased veterans by dedicating its annual report to the town’s administrator, Virginia Gabert. What a silly and ludicrous allegation. The recognition accorded Ms. Gabert, who has served the town with great skill and intelligence for 22 years was long overdue and the Selectboard should be commended, not disparaged, for doing so. As in any community, some residents have axes to grind or disagree with their selectmen on issues large and small. But I find Turner’s criticism of Hawley in this case truly astonishing since a recently deceased Selectman, Dick Desmarais, whom she has often expressed great admiration for, once told me that he dreaded the day Virginia decided to go elsewhere. The town would cease functioning without her. He wondered why she remained in Hawley when she could make far more money as an administrator in another town or a law office. But, he concluded, despite being offered better paying jobs she remained in Hawley because she loved the community and its citizens and, he guessed, that Hawley allowed her to bring her beloved dog to work, something she might have been unable to do elsewhere, entered into her decision to remain. All veterans are honored on Memorial Day. And rightly so. But other citizens who serve their communities with distinction and commitment to its well-being also deserve to be honored when the occasion arises. Hawley’s Selectboard did just that with Virginia. It neither intended or extended any “snub” to the two Hawley veterans who died last year. Those who think otherwise are looking through a glass darkly. They should get out into the sunlight and smell the flowers.

JERRY STERNSTEIN

Hawley

Bravo!

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