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Provoncha earns Liberty Bell

Officials from the Essex County Bar Association present Joseph Provoncha with the Liberty Bell award on Thursday, May 1.

Officials from the Essex County Bar Association present Joseph Provoncha with the Liberty Bell award on Thursday, May 1. Photo by Pete DeMola.

— The county’s brain trust, otherwise known as the Essex County Bar Association, packed the Deer’s Head Inn on Thursday, May 1 to pay homage to a certain non-lawyer citizen in the local community: a private citizen who stimulated a deep sense of individual responsibility and civic duty.

Someone who strengthened the effective of the American system of law in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution.

After the lofty talk cleared, one man was standing:

County Clerk Joseph Provoncha.

But the North Hudson resident isn’t only the clerk, which is why he won the award, the Liberty Bell.

He’s served on the 4-H Youth Board and, representing the other end of the spectrum, with the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program. He’s served with artists (Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks), with watchdogs (Substance Abuse Prevention Team) and, as the Chaplain of the North Hudson Fire Company, with firefighters putting their lives on the line.

This is alongside work as his town’s historian and as a Eucharist Minister and all-around go-to guy at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church.

Perhaps the only slight on his record, if it could even be described as that, are the 28 years that he has spent chaperoning local students down to Albany to learn more about how state sausage is made.

Essex County Justice Richard Meyer joked that Provoncha’s parents, who sat beaming beside their son, must have had triplets and didn’t tell anyone.

“Joe certainly has a calling,” said Meyer, “and that’s reflected in everything he does.”

Meyer cited Provoncha’s “exemplary, extraordinary character and accomplishment” and called him the “most humble and modest person I know.”

And so it was on May 1, which was also the Saint Day for St. Joseph the Worker, Provoncha lived up to his reputation as Joe the Humble.

Provoncha joked his time spent on the Schroon Lake Public Library Board counted as time spent in Purgatory.

“I had a great example from my parents,” he said in his acceptance speech. “And to my friends and family — you are special to me.”

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