2020 Holliston Humanitarian Awards Presented

A small, socially distanced group gathered in Upper Town Hall on Monday evening for the presentation of certificates for three worthy recipients.  Each member of the Board presented a candidate to receive the 2020 Holliston Humanitarian Award.  In addition to a certificate from the Town, each awardee received commendations from Holliston’s State Legislators; State Senate President, Karen Spilka and Representative Carolyn Dykema.

In 2019, former Select Board Chair, Mark Ahronian (below) instituted what has become an annual tradition in this season of Thanksgiving – recognizing individuals who demonstrate caring, consideration and compassion for other Hollistonians.  Mr. Ahronian may have been clairvoyant last year and set Holliston up to honor folks who have gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Select Board Chair Mark Ahronian looks on as the 2020 Humanitarian Awards are presented.

Select Board Chair, John Cronin started off the ceremony by recognizing Debbie Dupuis.  Debbie is a van driver for the Holliston Senior Center.  During the pandemic, Debbie continued her normal duties of transporting seniors to important destinations, and she stepped in to make home delivery of meals to seniors who would normally have come to the Senior Center for those meals.  She helped in any and every way that she could because she, “loves our seniors.”

Debbie Dupuis holds her certificate while Chair John Cronin reads a State commendation.

Select Board Vice-chair, Tina Hein recognized John Drohan.  John heads up the Holliston Community Action Fund.  In years past, that organization has provided financial assistance to residents in need.  During the pandemic, the financial impact has been felt be many citizens.  The Community Action Fund (CAF) stepped in to help Holliston distribute mortgage and rent support using authorized CARES Act funds.  Very quickly and seamlessly, the CAF became the disbursement arm of a public / private partnership to get funds to people facing a housing crisis.

John Drohan is ready to receive his State commendation from Vice-chair Tina Hein

Board Clerk, Ben Sparrell recognized Keely Krantz.  Keely is the President of the Holliston Pantry Shelf.  Housing insecurity was one impact of the pandemic.  Food insecurity became an urgent need for many new patrons of the Pantry.  During the early portion of the virus infestation, the Pantry staff quickly moved to a home delivery model.  A team worked inside packing the food / supplies.  Another team picked up the pre-packaged commodities for home delivery.  This continued until indoor visits could resume – with the necessary safety precautions in place. Basically, the Pantry did not skip a beat to meet the needs of our Holliston neighbors.

Keely Krantz at this year’s Souper Bowl

Keely was not able to attend so Holliston Pantry Shelf Past-President Steve Bradford accepted the award on behalf of Keely.

Steve Bradford stood in to receive Keely’s awards from Board Clerk Ben Sparrell.

2020 is certainly a year when human spirit has been tested, and Holliston is fortunate to have so many selfless people in its midst to get us all through this difficult time. 

Thank you and congratulations to the 2020 Holliston Humanitarian Award recipients!

Click here to view HCAT’s recording of the presentations -> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SyKpt__T5ACojSx-oxIOmY8dr__8yUTc/view

The Publishers


  1. Mary Greendale on November 18, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Congratulations to the winners – we are grateful for your help and generosity. Thanks to the SB for carrying on this tradition of honoring humanitarians in our midst.

  2. Mark Ahronian on November 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Congratulations to the three recipients ,
    You are so deserving of the award. Our community of HOLLISTON a few years ago won a National community involvement award which reminds me how special our community is having citizens like you!

    You make a Huge impact on all of our well being especially during a Pandemic ! Thank you again to the Select Board for recognizing three wonderful worthy recipients this Year.
    Wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving, Mark Ahronian

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