And the Winner is ...

Donna Lane
Issue Date: 
October, 2019
Article Body: 

The recipient of Norwood’s volunteer of the year award is held under deep cover until Norwood Day. On Saturday, Sept. 7, Norwood residents were able to honor one of their own who selflessly contributes with the sole intention of making Norwood the best place to live.
The 2019 Anne T. Lydon Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Patti Fanning by Recreation Department Superintendent Travis Farley for her contributions to the Norwood Historical Society and the Fred Holland Day House.
“You’ve done a lot for the community and this is our way to say thank you,” Farley said.
In a later interview, Fanning expressed her feelings about receiving the award:
“I was really surprised about the award,” Fanning said. “I’m the type of person who likes to work in the background, so it was both exciting and gratifying to be a recipient. It’s a privilege to be associated with Anne Lydon’s name – I knew and respected her.”
This award is given annually at Norwood Day, generally to “someone who does a great job behind the scenes” for the Town of Norwood. All residents are welcome to nominate candidates. The winner is decided by a vote of the Norwood Day Committee.
Patti Fanning is certainly deserving. She has researched and written several books about the Town: The History of Norwood, which she says needs to be updated; a Biography of Fred Holland Day, the Town’s famous photographer, publisher and philanthropist who was the first in the United States to advocate that photography should be considered a fine art; and Influenza and Inequality, the 1918 Flu Epidemic. This last book was also the topic of Fanning’s Ph.D. dissertation on what happens to a community when an epidemic hits – using Norwood as a case study.
Fanning served on Norwood’s Historical Commission for several years and has been a member of the Historical Society since the 1970s. History is definitely her passion.
“If you don’t know where you’ve been, you don’t know where you’re going,” Fanning said.
Her latest venture is the Old Parish Preservation Volunteers, a group she formed whose mission is to restore and preserve the Old Parish cemetery, cleaning stones and repairing broken ones as needed. She continues to run tour programs about the triumphs and tragedies of the women who are buried at Old Parish, bringing their lives into focus for those interested in history.
She is also part of the group that will run concerts at St. Gabriele’s newly renovated chapel – a harpist is scheduled for October 6 and a classical acoustic guitarist will perform on November 10.
The award’s namesake, Anne T. Lydon, was a founding member of the Norwood Day Committee and volunteer with numerous groups in town.
“We affectionately called her ‘The Button Lady,’ because no matter where she was, she was selling buttons,” former Recreation Department Superintendent Gerry Miller said. “Unfortunately, she passed away in 2006. We wanted to keep her memory alive because she was such an instrumental part of the whole program.”
The Anne T. Lydon award is presented annually at Norwood Day to the committee’s choice of individuals nominated for volunteer of the year. Patti Fanning joins the growing list of previous winners: James Schmidt, Nora Glynn, Susan Clare, Mike Saad, John Howard, Maria Henry and Mary Cantarow, Peggy Thorne, Bernice Wenstrom, Anne Benson, Olga Abdallah, Martha Colamaria and Dan Burns, Jill Driscoll and Dolores Elias.
If you believe there is someone who should receive the Anne Lydon Volunteer of the Year Award, you can download an application from the Recreation Department’s web page.