MINERVA - Katy Smith and Jake Hitchcock are folks often seen around, talked about, but hardly ever heard. They are involved in many things, working in the background of volunteer projects. It's this spirit of quietly doing things that benefit the community that made them this year's choice for Minerva's Citizens of the Year.
Both Smith and Hitchcock would rather be in the background, quietly working as volunteers.
"I'd prefer to fly under the radar; we do it because we love Minerva and we love living here," said Smith.
"I'm very flattered with this honor," said Hitchcock. "After all, when you have more time than money, you just do it."
They make their home, with their dog Wilson on Church Road in Olmstedville. Both are natives of the area and as a result, truly know the community. Hitchcock is a Bakers Mills native, graduating from Johnsburg Central School in 1990. Smith, a Minerva native, graduated from Minerva Central School in 1995. Her family has lived in town for generations. Her great grandfather, Mike Flynn appears as a fisherman and a trapper in two of Winslow Homer's most famous works of art, "The Blue Boat" and "The Trapper, Adirondacks," respectively. Together, and for the past year, both have owned and managed, "Common Roots" in North Creek. In addition to working at the restaurant, Hitchcock also works in the area part-time as a stone mason.
Smth and Hitchcock have been very active volunteers. For the past three years, they've dedicated time to the Minerva Service Organization, chairing four big fundraisers at Sporty's Iron Duke Saloon in Minerva and getting involved in plenty of other activities.
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According to Smith, "MSO membership really opened up new friendships for us."
She is also an active member of the Minerva PTSO, MCS Shared Decision-Making Team, and is the treasurer of the Minerva Central School Alumni Association. Both are also charter members of Planet Minerva, where Smith also serves as treasurer.