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United Way building named in honor of Mike Mannix

KEESEVILLE Supporters of the United Way of Clinton and Essex counties had a good day March 1 as they honored the memory of the late Michael J. Mannix. During the organizations annual meeting and recognition dinner at the Keeseville Elks Lodge, Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, a long-time friend of Mr. Mannix, had the privilege of announcing the United Way office building will be named in his honor. The United Way board of directors unanimously resolved to officially name its office building, located at 45 Tom Miller Road in Plattsburgh, the Michael J. Mannix Community Building at its Jan. 28 meeting. Mr. Mannix was executive director of the local United Way for 23 years. Known throughout the region for his charitable works, he passed away last year at the age of 66. A sign will be erected on the building as a tribute to the impact Mr. Mannix had on the lives of people throughout Clinton and Essex counties. The announcement received a standing ovation from event attendees. Assemblywoman Duprey, whose friendship with Mannix lasted more than 40 years, spoke of their relationship, and Mr. Mannixs humorous, charitable nature. Mr. Mannix, an avid sports fan and proud Irishman, was noted for never having a bad day. How lucky for the United Way and this community that Mike took the job, said Assemblywoman Duprey. Its mind-boggling to think about the thousands of lives Mike Mannix affected. Mr. Mannixs daughter, Cathy Mix, accepted the recognition on behalf of the family. Dad was known for never having a bad day. I believe he genuinely felt that way because he woke up every day feeling passionate about his contributions to the North Country ... and the Yankees, the New York Giants and everything Irish, said Ms. Mix. To honor him is to recognize what he stood for community service, volunteering, commitment, integrity and respect for others even Red Sox fans. During her acceptance, Ms. Mix read an excerpt from an essay her father wrote for an English 101 class he took after retiring. One assignment was to choose and define a word without using resources, and Mr. Mannix selected the word volunteer. It has been said that volunteering your time is the rent we pay to be on earth. Giving back to your community is a very important part of American life and one I strongly recommend to everyone. Try it; it can be a very enriching experience, he wrote. During the evening, another special announcement was made as Dorothy Dot Crawford was presented with the Dorothy and Alan Booth Distinguished Citizen Award. The award, established in 1985, recognizes volunteerism, community spirit, generosity, compassion and commitment. Ms. Crawford received 32 nominations from family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward, R-Willsboro, made the presentation, lauding Ms. Crawfords volunteerism. She has been described as a person who has an amazing desire to help others and influence the people around her to do the same, said Assemblywoman Sayward. She has volunteered tirelessly at the Interfaith Food Shelf for over 20 years where she coordinates the operation and has been instrumental in helping to feed and shelter homeless people through her volunteer work with the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Along with her work at the Interfaith Food Shelf, Ms. Crawford is active in church activities and fundraising, Literacy Volunteers and the ARC. In addition, she has knitted more than 250 sweaters for the Knitting for Kids program to help keep children warm all over the world. Ms. Crawford said was overwhelmed by the recognition, which came as a surprise to her. Her friend, Shirley Phillips, invited her to the event as a guest, and was one of the 32 people to make the nomination. Shes a wonderful person; she always thinks of someone else without thinking of herself, said Ms. Phillips. She has more compassion than anyone I know. Ms. Crawford credited the more than 100 volunteers who support the Interfaith Food Shelf for making the good works possible. The shelf serves all of Clinton County. Local United Way Executive Director John C. Bernardi pointed out the symbolism of the events location in Keeseville, located on the border between Clinton and Essex counties. Its symbolic that were here this evening, only a few hundred feet from the Clinton County border, and in a community we never held an event in before, said Bernardi. During the meeting, three new people were nominated to the United Way board. Named were Lonnie Cross, owner of College Formals; Tom Koester, a retired banker; and Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow. The officers for the 2008-09 year were also elected. The slate includes president Kirk Stallsmith, vice president Sue LaBlanc, treasurer Anne Cutaiar and secretary Linda Parks. The 2008 campaign raised $722,330 for United Way agencies. The United Way supports 34 local agencies in both Clinton and Essex counties.

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