John M. Holman: NHMA Volunteer Award Winner
Atlantic News, November 13, 2003, page 4A
On Wednesday of this week, Hampton resident John M. Holman was honored to receive recognition as a winner in the New Hampshire Municipal Association's 16th Annual Volunteer Awards. Nominated by several of his colleagues at the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, John and other library staff members were invited to attend an awards luncheon hosted at the NHMA's annual conference in Manchester. Below is the letter compiled by those individuals who nominated this beloved, dedicated and most deserving volunteer:
John Holman is a natural helper and volunteer. The joys he gives and receives by giving are evident to anyone who meets him. Mr. Holman has devoted the majority of his adult life to the citizens of Hampton, NH. Through his work at the Lane Memorial Library, the Tuck Memorial Museum, and the local American Legion Post 35, John has greatly influenced the community for the better.
John began volunteering at the Lane Memorial Library in 1997. His dedication to the library, its staff, and the community account for at least 30 hours of John's time each week. John works each day converting printed historical writings on the town of Hampton into computer form and preparing them for the library's extensive website dealing with the history of the town. In so doing he has learned to write in HTML, as well as scan and edit images and text. With his help the library has been able to put online the full text of Hampton's two major town histories, as well as hundreds of historical pamphlets and newspaper articles.
When he isn't sitting at his computer in the library, he can be found spreading good cheer around the building and occasionally wielding hammer and screwdriver doing light maintenance tasks. He devotes his skills and dynamic personality to the patrons of the library, especially those visiting the Children's Room. Many children and their parents are greeted by John. He is always willing to tell a good or even not-so-good joke, share a smile, or simply compliment a new mom and dad on their lovely new baby. John is always willing to assist the children's room staff in preparing for special events, guests, and programs. He takes the time to set up tables, prepare refreshments, greet guests, give ideas, and be on hand to help whenever called. In February 2001, for example, he helped the Children's Librarian organize a "Washington's Birthday Party" at the library for children, centered around the singing of patriotic songs, with himself at the keyboard.
John's dedication and willingness to help doesn't stop at the library doors. He has been very active in the local American Legion organization and their efforts to educate the public on the sacrifices of our veterans, particularly those from Hampton. He has been instrumental in seeing that Hampton's veterans who have died in our nation's 20th century wars are recognized by the naming of streets, parks and playgrounds in their memory. He has added information on all these veterans and streets to the library's website. John is Chaplain at the Legion and participates in the memorial services for veterans and is involved in many patriotic programs in town. He is a presenter of the awards given to schoolchildren for their devotion to good citizenship. He works closely as a Legionnaire in remembering and honoring our veterans and maintaining the American flags in the local cemeteries. In the aftermath of September 11th, when demand for American flags far outstripped the supply, John acquired dozens of small flags through his American Legion connections and sold them inexpensively out of his "office" in the staff lounge of the library. Many people who had never been in the library before came in to purchase flags.
A few years ago he took on two major community projects. 'The first involved the preservation of the old Blake cooper shop. He was the instigator in getting it moved from its location at Wayside Farm to town-owned land on Barbour Road. He and his wife Connie put an article on the town meeting warrant to purchase a new fence for the "Babyland" section of the High Street Cemetery. This article passed easily at the 2000 town meeting and the fence was installed.
John has been active in Hampton community affairs for years. From 1970 until 1983 he was Curator of the Tuck Memorial Museum, owned and operated by the Hampton Historical Society. In addition to all of these activities, John and his wife, Connie, dedicate their time and talents to the seniors at Websters-at-Rye nursing home and at Exeter Healthcare, a nursing facility. Each month they spend a few hours with residents at each facility, entertaining them with songs, jokes and stories. The two of them, have quite a reputation for making the residents want to "cut a rug."
More importantly than all the time, talents, skills, and devotion that John shares with the entire community of Hampton, is the joy that he evidently receives in doing so. He is always beaming with excitement and eagerness to share and help. He knows that others depend on him. John Holman is a fine man that the community of Hampton needs in order to thrive.