Many things happen each year at the annual Convention, but perhaps one of the most exciting events is the announcement of several awards for individual members and chapters who have made significant contributions to the SEA and its mission. This year was no different and we’d like to share the winners with you.
The first award announced was the John B. Parker Award. This is considered SEA’s highest award and it recognizes the organization’s outstanding member. Betty Thomas, 2nd Vice President, announced Jonathan Hebert, Chapter 3, as this year’s recipient. When Jonathan is not busy with his job as an engineer at DOT, he is doing one thing or another for SEA with passion and drive. Since joining the organization in 1996, Jonathan has been a jack of all trades; serving as a union steward, chapter president and a member of the Executive Branch Master Bargaining Senate. “I was completely surprised by it,” he said humbly. “I thought afterward I should have said this and I should have said that. I was just so happy to be recognized.” As well he should be for his former and continuing commitment to his union. Congratulations, Jonathan.
Ken Roos, 1st Vice President presented the Ray Proulx Award. This award is presented to a member who has shown extraordinary commitment and involvement in political activism. This year’s recipient is John Hattan, chapter 45. John, who became an SEA member in 1990, has served on the SEA Political Education Committee for over a decade. He has participated at many levels including phone banking, leafleting, attending hearings, and even performing in a street performance as one of the Marx brothers in a political skit in front of the State House. No matter what the task, John has been game to get the work done to elect legislators who share his commitment to a just and fair economy and a government that is supportive of working families. Congratulations, John.
The Charlie Stevens award is presented to the outstanding Chapter President of the Year. President Diana Lacey presented this award to Tammy Clark, Chapter 45. Tammy became chapter president this spring and hit the ground running on a mission – to increase chapter member involvement. The chapter’s vast geographic span and large number of members creates challenges – all of which Tammy is addressing. Tammy has improved communication within the chapter; and together with a team of chapter members, has taken on the goal of reaching 100% attendance at the 2014 SEA Convention. Under Tammy’s leadership, the chapter passed a resolution to ask the Board of Directors to purchase and install a quality teleconferencing phone for the SEA office and video conferencing capabilities, in order to remove distance as a barrier for members to participate in chapter meetings. Congratulations, Tammy.
The final award given was to the Chapter of the Year. President Lacey presented this award to Chapter 1. Chapter 1 President, Peter Bartlett, accepted the award on behalf of the chapter. When he accepted the award, Peter said “I didn’t know we were even eligible for this.” Chapter 1 is composed of SEA retirees and is the largest SEA Chapter.
This award was earned by not just one year of stellar involvement and participation, but by many, many consistent years of excellence. Their chapter meetings are routinely well organized and well attended. They provide a great example of how to effectively communicate with each other and they remain strong by acting in solidarity even when they do not all agree. “Chapter 1has taught us how to do things and why it’s important to keep working together,” said President Lacey. “They have remembered what being in a union family means, they have lived it and they teach us still today how to live it. With over 1,200 members, Chapter 1 has set the standard for member engagement, political engagement, good union debate, charitable giving in its more than 50 year history with the Operation Santa Claus program, and so much more.” Congratulations to all members of Chapter 1.