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Rumford's night of appreciation
RUMFORD -- The Board of Selectmen held a night of appreciation of sorts at their meeting Thursday, recognizing longtime people retiring from town service, their annual Citizen of the Year, and a former selectman.
Prior to Board Chairman Greg Buccina presenting a clock plaque to Jim Rinaldo as Citizen of the Year, Town Manager Carlo Puiia read from a lengthy prepared statement to mark the occasion.
He began by noting that a Citizen of the Year is "someone who makes a difference in our town. I've always found that a nomination usually centers on a reason or a cause to motivate or please someone enough to submit a letter. However, when I'd done a little bit of research, I usually find that the recipient has a long and varied history of serving and contributing to improving the quality of place we enjoy here in our little town. This year's Citizen of the Year is no different, having
demonstrated an unselfishness and a determination to be involved in activities, organizations and projects that are beneficial to the Town of Rumford.
When I was approximately 14 years old, I started working in my parent's hardware store. Our Citizen of the Year was my first supervisor, my very first boss. It was a great experience. He taught me about job responsibilities, organizational skills, customer service and communications. Many of these are important lessons of working towards success and he approached everyone of those lessons with respect and dignity.
In my eyes, our Citizen of the Year has been an inspiration not only to me but to others. He leads by example and cooperates with others to make things happen. His patience and confidence in helping our town never diminishes. His persistent crusade has been in the direction of economic development. The efforts have been difficult at times, some would say downright discouraging.
However, with relentless diligence and a positive attitude, he continues to stay focused and labors towards a better economy for all of us. He provides excellent input as a member of the River Valley Growth Council and on the River Valley Tech Center board. He's been instrumental in coordinating improvements and bringing in new tenants to make the tech center viable.
He also enabled the Pennacook Arts Center to be utilized at the tech center. He spearheaded the creation of the Rumford Performing Arts Committee that has brought life to our auditorium with music, theater and special events. In fact, this group also initiated and was credited with naming this the Rumford Falls Auditorium.
He lobbied the Board of Selectmen to purchase Babe, the Blue Ox as a lure for visitors at our information center to explore our downtown and create some interest for our local merchants. He also recruited Mountain Valley High School art students to voluntarily paint directional blue hoof prints from the information center to the Island to create a walking guide for tourists.
He served on our local school board for three years and was their chairperson for one year. He served on the Board of Selectmen for two separate three-year terms, also being the chairperson for one year on each of those terms. While on those boards, he assisted in getting the first industrial park and getting FMI to Rumford, which created 28 new jobs in our town.
He was also on the board when the town acquired the former Abbott Farm Plaza, now the River Valley Crossing Plaza, and helped to negotiate a competent and capable developer to revitalize that location, which now houses Marden's, Sears, Olympia Sports, the Dollar Tree, and Motion Industries.
He also started a co-op with local crafters to sell their Maine made products that is facilitated through Bartash's. He sought and brought Pizza Hut to the River Valley area, which created 16 new jobs. He has served with the Sons of Italy organization faithfully for over 40 years and has been their president four times. He also invented and patented the portable latrine called Jungle John, and coached Little League baseball and basketball at the Stute, known now as the GRCC.
His most recent accomplishment is becoming the author of a children's book. When I asked him for a list, he listed his biggest achievement is the marriage to his wife, Carrie, and he claims that without her support, most of what he accomplished would probably not have happened."
Puiia then thanked Carrie for her support, which was followed by a round of applause.
"I really wish that his parents, Dominic and Beatrice Rinaldo, were still alive to witness this recognition because I know they instilled in her many of the fine qualities that drives him and they deserve a thank you as well," noted Puiia.
After receiving the award, Rinaldo approached the podium and noted the value of being able to bounce ideas off his wife. Without doing that, several of these accomplishments may not have happened.
Prior to the Citizen of the Year presentation, the board also acknowledged several other citizens, including retirements of town workers over the last year.
Presented a plaque with a gold shovel was Ed Ferland, who retired after 11 years with public works.
Board chairman Greg Buccina presented Dave Bean with a plaque after retiring following 25 years with the police department.
Bean noted that he enjoyed patrolling the streets of Rumford and loves living here.
Also acknowledged were Gordon Phillips and Louis Giroux, who served 37 and 32 years, respectively, on the call force for the fire department.
Presented a clock for his service to the town was Mark Belanger, who was a selectmen for six years. Puiia noted Belanger was a key supporter of the secret ballot, which got more citizens involved with town government again.
Buccina, who also serves as chairman of the Fourth of July committee, said their recent event netted a positive balance of $3,541.80 after all the bills were paid. Those monies will be turned over into an account for next year's event.
Rumford Board Chairman Greg Buccina presented a clock plaque Jim Rinaldo (right), named Rumford's Citizen of the Year. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
Rumford Board Chairman Greg Buccina presented a plaque to David Bean (right), who retired following 25 years with the police department. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
Rumford Board Chairman Greg Buccina presented a plaque to Ed Ferland (left), who retired after 11 years with public works. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)