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Lively, Brisson honored at West County business event

SHELBURNE FALLS — The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association’s “citizen of the year” award is named for the late businessman Marvin J. Shippee, whom Realtor Carol Bolduc described as a quiet, unassuming “man behind the curtain” in Shelburne Falls. “Like a Wizard of Oz, you didn’t see him,” she said, “but he was the guy who got the job done.”

And like Shippee, Thomas Lively of Heath has been taking care of business in his town for decades. Lively, a 15-year selectman and selectmen’s chairman for much of that time, was honored Friday with this year’s Community Service Award presentation at the association’s annual breakfast.

Presenting the award were his colleagues, Selectmen Sheila Litchfield and Brian DeVries.

Besides serving as selectmen until this spring, Lively has been a long-standing member of the Franklin County Selectmen’s Association, the town’s representative to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and a volunteer firefighter.

Like Shippee, said DeVries, “Tom is a person who fixes what needs to be done — who bites into it and gets it done.”

Rebecca Brisson of Charlemont received the business association’s scholarship for “entrepreneurial spirit.” The Franklin County Technical School senior is in the school’s carpentry program, but plans to major in child care at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire.

John Baldwin of The Academy at Charlemont cited her volunteerism and work with children through Charlemont’s Parks and Recreation Committee. “Volunteering is part of small-town life,” said Baldwin. “I believe giving back to the community is the best gift.”

Also, Shelburne Falls Visitor Information volunteers Rebecca Bradley of Rowe and Pat Weeks of Buckland were acknowledged for their weekly service to area visitors.

This year’s annual breakfast, at Trinity Church, had more participants than usual from the hilltowns beyond Shelburne and Buckland. The business association members unanimously ratified this year’s name change, to the “Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association,” to make it clearer that the association encompasses 10 hilltowns.

Executive Director Mary Vilbon got a standing ovation for her work. Among the association’s accomplishments this year were the development of a new website and new marketing materials, a 10 percent increase in volunteerism, the development of a youth career and job day for Mohawk students, and the work to help the village receive the state’s 2012 Commonwealth Award as a designated Cultural District.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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