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Westport ambassadors celebrated for serving 322 summer visitors

A small portion of the ambassadors gathered for a special recognition ceremony on Sept. 30 at the Westport Heritage House.

A small portion of the ambassadors gathered for a special recognition ceremony on Sept. 30 at the Westport Heritage House. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— The ambassadors of the Westport Visitor Center were applauded for a successful summer season of ushering visitors of the town to the sites and places of Westport.

“You are the frontline of this program and you epitomize our mission,” Betty Band said during the recognition ceremony on Sept. 30 at the Westport Heritage House. “Your volunteerism, your spirit of place, makes it possible for the visitor center to be open.”

Band said 43 ambassadors were trained during the summer and together served about 118 two-hour shifts. An ambassador’s duties are to greet guests, answer any initial questions they might have, show the historical artifacts in the building and the featured video archives and be the face for the town.

The Heritage House, located at 6459 Main St., accommodated 322 visitors during the summer. Band said the center welcomed visitors from Vermont, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey, California and as far away as Alaska. There were also international visitors from the Netherlands and several Canadians.

Some ambassadors were given special recognition for serving the most shifts. Veteran Ann Turek served the most shifts while first-timer Carolynn Mann served as many as seven two-hour shifts.

Town Supervisor Dan Connell thanked all of the ambassadors for volunteering during a time when the studies show that fewer Americans are volunteering.

Connell attributes the success of the Heritage House to the people who not only undertook the massive job of constructing the facility but the ambassadors who give their time and make it an inviting place to welcome people into Westport.

“Our communities depend so much on volunteerism, especially in this day and age where government is cutting services left and right and less and less people are volunteering in our country,” Connell said. “This community is certainly bucking that national trend. Thank you so much for all you do for our community.”

The Westport Heritage House, set up in the former church, houses many an English cannon ball found a Toll Gate Farm loaned by Ernie LaPine, paintings of the Westport train station, pictures and historical aspects housed in the chapel and lobby of the visitor center.

For more information about the visitor center or to become a volunteer, visit the center’s website at westportheritagehouse.com.

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