Richard Alberini, right, was named Citizen of the Year at Friday evening's 92nd annual Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce dinner. Bill Melekas, left, introduced Alberini with humor, as well as many examples of Alberini's positive qualities. Darin Wipperman/The Littleton Courier. (click for larger version)
January 29, 2014BRETTON WOODS — Two giants of the Littleton landscape were honored with awards at Friday evening's annual Chamber of Commerce dinner. Richard Alberini was named Citizen of the Year, while Karen Keazirian took home the President's Award.
Bill Melekas presented Alberini as Citizen of the Year. Of Alberini's award, Melekas declared there was "no person so worthy in so many people's opinion." Alberini's impactful life, Melekas continued, is "like a pebble you drop in a pond – the circle keeps getting bigger."
Melekas has known Alberini for three decades. "If you have ever been adopted by the Alberini Family," Melekas said, "you are very lucky."
Alberini has served the town in myriad capacities. Melekas noted that Alberini taught social studies, and he was an excellent mentor for students. "He encouraged his students to be their very best," Melekas proudly noted. Not only did Alberini "make learning fun," Melekas added, he would "befriend those who were most in need."
Alberini also spent 20 years in the National Guard, becoming a captain. His interests in theater and the town's Victorian Christmas are other ways Alberini has served Littleton, Melekas said.
Alberini continues to be part of important town functions. Melekas noted the awardee's interest in the Opera House committee, as well as the Littleton Historical Society. Alberini's cemetery walks, Melekas continued, "are literally bringing the history of Littleton to life."
As a devoted family man, Alberini deserves additional praise, Melekas said. "We are blessed, my friends, to have Richard Alberini as an integral part of this community," he added. Just before Alberini walked to the stage, Melekas concluded, "Thank you, Dick, for loving Littleton."
Like last year's winner, Val Poulsen, Alberini spoke few words as he accepted the award. "It's just a pleasure living in Littleton," he said. "Thank you so much for this honor."
Retiring Chamber President Alycia Vosinek announced Keazirian's award. Vosinek said that Keazirian has been a key part of Littleton's growth and continued charm since arriving in town 20 years ago from Maine. As Executive Director for Pollyanna of Littleton, Keazirian ensures the town remains "the glad community," Vosinek said.
Keazirian has been active in several important regional activities, including the Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network and Littleton Main Street, Inc. Vosinek praised Keazirian as someone of "unfailing optimism" who serves as a great example of the "spirit of volunteerism" found in Littleton. Keazirian's volunteer efforts for the Chamber were specifically noted.
Thanks to Keazirian's many positive qualities, Vosinek said the award winner "brings the Pollyanna spirit to life."
Keazirian thanked the Eames family in her acceptance speech. She thanked Littleton for its strong welcoming spirit. In true Pollyanna fashion, Keazirian concluded, "Be glad, be cheerful, eat cake."