ST. ALBANS — On Tuesday, the Rotary Club of St. Albans named three women Citizens of the Year for 2014. Maddie Howard, Jeanne Royer, and Betty Casavant have each spent decades volunteering in various capacities in the St. Albans community.
Maddie Howard, 92, has provided care and support to both the community’s children and its elderly. She was an additional grandmother to numerous children, according to presenter Tom Hungerford.
She also directed activities at the Holiday House. “Maddie retired from the Holiday House three separate times, and worked there well into her eighties,” said Hungerford.
A lifelong member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, she continues to volunteer there, as well as numerous other organizations, including the St. Albans Historical Museum, Operation Happiness, and Northwestern Medical Center.
“We all have a bumpy road, but we pick up and go on and that’s what life is all about,” said Howard.
Born in 1925, Jeanne Royer began working in the community during World War II when she oversaw the local Office of Price Administration, which helped to provide goods to civilians during wartime.
She was hired at Union Carbide on Feb. 24, 1947, before it opened its doors. She served as the secretary for Ray Walker, who was in charge of personnel. She still helps to organize events for former employees.
Royer’s father owned the first site at which Franklin County Field Days was held, and Royer assisted with the annual event.
She is a member of numerous community organizations including the ladies auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Thanking Rotary for the award, she added, “”I thank Rotary for everything they do for our community.”
Betty Casavant, 87, lost her husband, a well-known local physician, while she still had children at home. He died in the summer. “That fall I had three in college, three in high school and three in elementary school,” she said following Tuesday’s honors ceremony
Having trained as a nurse at the College of Saint Rose, she refreshed her training after her husband’s death and worked to support her nine children. She earned a Masters in Education while sending her own children to college.
A member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Casavant served as a religious instructor and a member of the bereavement committee.
She worked as a nurse at St. Albans City School, and served as a trustee for Bellows Free Academy and the Warner Home along with the boards of Northwestern Counseling & Support Services and Franklin County Home Health.
Casavant, too, has volunteered with Operation Happiness, Northwestern Medical Center, and the St. Albans Historical Museum, as well as at city school.
“I only did what I thought was right,” Casavant said.
Hungerford concluded the presentation by observing that it is fitting this year’s recipients of the Citizen of the Year award are all women, because Rotary has taken on the task of raising the funds to repair the fountain, which is made up of four seated maidens.