The Chautauqua County League of Women Voters honored two of its own at the annual meeting recently.
Leaguer Minda Rae Amiran introduced Leaguer of the Year Margaret Larson of Dunkirk as someone who does not like the limelight but will do whatever is asked.
"The annual meeting is always a time when we can recognize people whose service to the League has been outstanding and especially valuable. Our honoree tonight, Margaret Larson, has with great difficulty been persuaded to accept this honor because she feels squeamish about it," Amiran joked.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Margaret Larson (right) was named Leaguer of the Year at the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters annual meeting recently. Leaguer Minda Rae Amiran gave Larson her award.
Amiran said Larson has never said no when asked to help.
"You all remember the childhood story about the young man who saved Holland by putting his finger in the dike? That is what Margaret does for the League whenever anything is needed, she is there. She hates the limelight but I can't begin to count the number of times that I, for one, have called on her and she never says no," she said. "So, if it's at the last minute someone can't serve at the mock elections, Margaret's there. If we need a timekeeper for meet the candidates in Dunkirk, Margaret's there and she brings the water. If we need someone to help out with the Fredonia Village elections and someone can't make it at the last moment, I call Margaret and she comes."
Larson joked that she needs to learn to say "no," but added the League works very hard.
"Thank you for this. I can think of many who are much more deserving," she said modestly. "You know the Chautauqua County League works very hard and a lot of their members work very hard. I have been fortunate to be in the voter service committee with Minda Rae and what we do is try to encourage people to study the political issues and to get out and vote," she said.
She encouraged Leaguers to help with the committee and to encourage others to "bring a friend" to help with the League's cause. She also thanked the League leadership team for the honor.
Pat Christina, longtime Leaguer and Pomfret Town Board member, was also honored for her service to the League and the community. Leaguer Marcia Merrins said it was Christina who got her involved in the League initially.
"Pat was always interested in what was going on politically and she said, 'You really have to do this,'" Merrins recalled.
She said she was hooked after the first meeting and the rest is history. She added Christina is an old friend that many know as a "person of quality."
"A person of quality is a person of substance and intelligence who possesses talent or skills, a depth of character and integrity, and you all know Pat has that," Merrins said.
She said the search for quality is ongoing and requires vision, dedication and passion.
"If you've ever had a conversation with Pat, you know she has passion. It doesn't matter if she is talking about the dinner she had last night or something she read in the newspaper that morning or something on HGTV. It doesn't matter, she has an opinion," Merrins explained.
She said Christina's leadership has always instilled trust and respect and encouraged people to use evidence instead of unsupported evidence, no matter what side of an issue.
"Pat possesses a trait that is scarce in the world today and that is attentiveness And she gives her time and resources and she makes it happen," she said.
Merrins explained Christina never accepts the status quo and attributed the idea of the League's lawn signs to her.
"Candidates stick lawn signs in the ground to promote themselves, so she said, 'Why can't we do that?' And that's the way the lawn signs came about. It was Pat Christina's idea and we put it into action to promote the League and at the same time we promote people to vote," she said
She added Christina is courageous, always has questions, always listens and always fights for what is right, even if it is not popular.
"If Pat were a dictionary entry, she would be defined as a person who is dedicated, determined to succeed, loyal, willing to give of her own time, a goal setter, who stays involved, and walks the walk and talks the talk about giving beyond yourself. She is also a good friend. I speak on behalf of the League in appreciation of her past years of service in municipal government and as our friend and member. We are thrilled to recognize her for her enduring service to the League and we thank her," Merrins concluded.
Christina's husband, Andy Christina, daughter Kara Christina and her husband, Andy Ludwig, accepted a gift on her behalf.
Merrins also thanked Judy Reynolds for organizing the event as well as all of those who work on the leadership team and committees.
For more information on the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters visit its website www.lwvchautauqua.org.
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