White Mountains Treasure & Steve Eastman Community Spirit Awards announced


Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award for 2020 also awarded

North Conway, NH – Two community-spirited individuals will be honored with the White Mountains Treasure Award for their dedication to Mt Washington Valley, NH on October 27, 2020 during the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce 108th Annual Meeting. Mandy McDonald, family liaison for the Conway Elementary School and founder of the Conway chapter of End 68 Hours of Hunger, and Karen Dolan, Director of Snowsports at Cranmore Mountain Resort and dedicated Mountain Meister leader will both receive the award this year. The prestigious White Mountains Treasure Award was established as a way to thank and honor individuals and organizations who, by their demonstrated commitment and example exemplify that success is not measured by what they accomplish in life for themselves but by what they do for others. Recipients of the award have given a lifetime of time and talent to the White Mountains community. In addition, as has been the tradition for a few years, the Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award will also be given during the Chamber’s Annual meeting to Kathy and Brian Ahearn of Four Your Paws Only for their years of giving back to the community. All three award recipients will be honored at the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting that will be held virtually on October 27, 2020. The White Mountains Treasure Award is generously sponsored by Memorial Hospital.

2020 White Mountains Treasure Awards

Amanda (Mandy) McDonald

As is the family liaison for Conway Elementary School, Mandy realized that many of the Valley’s children were suffering from weekend food insecurity. Some of the children Mandy knew or worked with didn’t know where their next meal might be coming from between lunch in school on Friday and breakfast in school on Monday. This prompted Mandy to start the Conway chapter of End 68 Hours of Hunger. This 100% volunteer program has grown from working with a handful of children initially to today where it currently serves 160 students from Conway Elementary, Pine Tree, John Fuller, Madison, Freedom, KA Brett School, Josiah Bartlett School, Jackson, Conway Head Start, and the Robert Frost School. In addition, the program replenishes food closets at Kennett Middle School and High School and summer programs at Conway Elementary School.

Mandy covers many and all roles, from fundraising to speaking engagements, coordinating volunteers, and packing and delivering the food bags throughout the Mount Washington Valley. One hundred percent of the money raised for the program goes toward providing food. There is a great deal of work behind the scenes, shopping for the food, unloading it to storage, then making individual bags for 160 students. Although there are many volunteers helping, Mandy fills in everywhere she’s needed.

According to Cathy Baker of Conway Elementary School, who nominated Mandy, “In addition to her role as Program Coordinator for the Conway Chapter of End 68 Hours of Hunger, Mandy goes above and beyond in her position as family liaison for Conway Elementary School. Mandy is always there to support her fellow staff members. She is a lifeline for many parents and their students helping them navigate area services that are available to them. Mandy is always willing to go the extra mile for anyone!” explains Cathy. “Mandy does all this with a quiet demeanor. She seeks no accolades and gives credit to everyone working with her. She is a true Valley Treasure,” finished Cathy Baker.

Karen Dolan

Since 1971, the Cranmore Mountain Meister Program (formerly the Local Yokels) has fostered a vital ski community in the Mount Washington Valley. Over nearly fifty years, thousands of alpine skiers, telemark skiers and snowboarders have competed against some of the best amateur racers in the nation and against themselves, growing this program to the largest citizen racing program in the country. The Meisters “World Cup Wednesdays” are legendary and an ongoing and growing source of community spirit, athletic achievement and fellowship throughout the Mount Washington Valley. Karen Dolan has played a key leadership role in developing the Meister Program into what it continues to be today.

As Director of Snowsports at Cranmore, Karen has been instrumental in keeping the Meister program viable and active through rich and lean years, and has been the constant central personality driving the program on the front lines over the past three decades when needed or from behind the scenes. When others were unable to help, Karen has capably managed the timing hut and set out wikked courses, among many other roles she’s played. Working tenaciously through five different ownership groups at Cranmore, Karen has been a mentor for both local racers and ski instructors alike.

In addition Karen has been involved in the Eastern Slope Ski Club (ESSC) since 1978, serving on its Board of Directors since 1986. Her efforts have helped approximately 7000 Mt Washington Valley children learn to ski through this renowned program; with many becoming top racers in the Meisters or other race programs.

Karen has been a volunteer for Jen’s Friends and its Climb Against Cancer fundraiser since the event’s inception at Cranmore in 1998. Karen has assisted with countless tasks and functions to raise thousands of dollars through this event to assist cancer patients.

According to Tad Furtado, of Conway Family Dental Care and Karen’s nominator, “If we believe the ski culture of the region is a key to our ongoing success as a four season destination, the contribution of the Mountain Meister series cannot be overlooked, nor can Karen’s role in it. Given the nature of the Meister program and the critical need to reward all such efforts aimed at keeping North Conway the top ski community in the nation, I strongly believe this award is well deserved and appropriate for Karen.”

The White Mountains Treasures Award has been given to deserving individuals throughout the White Mountains community since 1994. Past White Mountains Treasure Award Recipients include:

1994: George Davidson, J. Arthur Doucette, Bob Duncan, S. Jean Fernandez, Margaret Frost, Lee Harmon, Warren Hill, Dr. Eugene Hussey, Stephen Laurent, William C. Levy, Chet Lucy, Shumway Marshall, Alex McKenzie, Ed Moody, Bob Morrell, Otto Ninow, Doug Philbrook, Carroll Reed, Kay Reed, Ben Saunders, Hannes Schneider, Dwight Smith, Betty Whitney

1995: Jean Fickett, Liz George, Wally Packard

2007: Cynthia Briggs, Jac Cuddy, Steve Eastman, Philip T. Gravink, Richard Hamilton, Laura Mahoney Glenna Mori, R Stoning (Stoney) Morrell, Kim Perkins, Linda Pinkham, Ruth Reny, Herbert Schneider

2008: Chuck Henderson, Sut Marshall, Gary Poquette, Donna Woodward

2009: Bernadine “Benny” Jesseman, Bobbi Steele-Marotta

2010: Raymond Burton, Tom Eastman, Miles Waltz

2011: David Emerson, Joan Lanoie, NHDOT, Howard “Howie” Wemyss

2012: Kenneth Cargill, Bayard Kennett ,Peter Pinkham, Cindy Russell

2013: George Cleveland Richard (Dick) Ficke, Mountain Garden Club

2014: John Colbath, Emily Smith-Mossman

2015: Phyllis Sherman, Audrey Vorperian

2016: Linda Walker, Russ Lanoie

2017: Ed Westervelt, Ruthann Fabrizio, Carol Westervelt

2018: Floyd Corson, Shirley & Richard VanDyne

2019: Joe Berry, Steven (Steve) P. Cote

2020 Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award

The Steve Eastman Community Service Award, named in memory of late Mountain Ear newspaper co-founder and publisher Steve Eastman (1949-2008), is given each year to a recipient who embodies Steve’s commitment to community spirit. Four Your Paws Only in North Conway is not your ordinary pet store, it’s a true reflection of the love for animals combined with a caring for community that owners Kathy and Brian Ahearn bring to their business and lives. The community-minded Ahearnsquality of giving back is a value they share with Eastman and makes them ideal selections as recipients of the award, according to Tom Eastman.

Told of their recognition with the award, the Ahearns said they appreciate the honor very much, with Kathy saying, “Steve (Eastman) was very supportive of us when we first opened our store. He always had a smile on his face and was very kind to us.” Steve was a great dog lover.

Since it first opened on Labor Day weekend of 1994, Four Your Paws has been a place that honors and caters to the indelible bond between people and their pets. “The key to our business has been that passion of making sure that the animals are cared for,” said Brian Ahearn. “We know the local pets as well as we know their owners. And we also help animals we don’t know too (through local & national humane societies & animal rescue organizations),” noted Kathy Ahearn.

In addition to the store, the Ahearns are involved with and/or support several animal welfare organizations including the Conway Area Humane Society and Harvest Hills, NHDART (Disaster Animal Response Team) and Long Journey Animal Rescue of Fryeburg.

The Steve Eastman Community Award has been presented by Eastman’s wife Sarah W. Eastman and brother Tom Eastman since 2014. The following Mt Washington Valley community members have been recipients of this award to date.

2014: Tom Chalmers

2015: Ben Wilcox

2016: Josh Mcallister

2017: Brian Smith and Family

2018: Cindy Russell

2019: Bob and Sharon Seaman

Congratulations to all the White Mountains Treasures and Steve Eastman Community Spirit Awardees who have given a lifetime of time, energy and talent to the Mt Washington Valley and White Mountains communities.

The Mt Washington Valley 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting is sponsored by Chalmers Insurance Group, Memorial Hospital and Delta Dental.

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESS PEOPLE & PLACES is a digital handbook highlighting the work of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in the past year. The Essential Guide features financial and marketing updates from the chamber along with valuable resources, inspiring photos and stories of how the business community persevered through the Covid-19 pandemic, and how businesses may change in the future. To access the Essential Guide, go to www.MWVAnnualMeeting.com .

To learn more about the Mt Washington Valley Chamber, go to www.MtWashingtonValley.org. To learn more about planning a visit to New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.org.

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