A Thank You to Tom Chipman

From Parks & Recreation Director Mark Frank

Under normal circumstances, a Parks Commissioner who has selflessly served as a volunteer for their community for over 14 years would have some formal recognition at the end of their final term.  A gathering with cocktails and stories of hard-earned accomplishments to celebrate seems appropriate.  Perhaps even some parting gifts from those he served with or those who worked for him. Unfortunately, this is 2020-2021, so when Tom Chipman stepped away from the Parks Commission last May, he did so quietly, with a heartfelt round of thank you’s at the end of a Zoom meeting.  While we hope to find a way to better honor Tom’s invaluable service to Holliston once we can gather safely, we would like to honor his accomplishments and publicly thank him now. 

When Tom joined the Parks Commission in June of 2007, the department looked much different than it does today.  The office was in the now demolished Flagg building, and, with the exception of the summer camps, programming was limited to a few programs that could fit on a single page of copy paper.  The playgrounds and courts were in desperate need of renovation, and the commission had its work cut out. 

Under Tom’s leadership, the department has come a long way.  The quintessential example of Tom’s style and ability to get things done occurred during the 2012 reconstruction of Goodwill Park.  He was instrumental in the planning and development of that project, including countless hours of meetings, fundraising efforts and recruiting of local resources. However, what set Tom apart was that beyond his time around a conference table and on phone calls, he was actually there. He was on the ground, lugging around and assembling equipment, spreading mulch and making sure the project was progressing efficiently. That is the way Tom served as a Parks commissioner. He approached the role with a unique ability to contribute in the board room, and out in the field, putting his words to action. 

Anytime a problem came up, you could count on Tom “having a guy for that.”  He was solutions-oriented, and he constantly found practical ways to work around any issues that came up at the parks’ facilities.  He used the resources of his electrical company, as well his local connections to spring into action when something needed to get done.  There are far too many accomplishments to list, however, some highlights of projects that would not have been possible without Tom’s leadership and know-how are: The acquisition and remodel of 1750 Washington Street; the lights at Adams and Damigella fields; the LED lights at the Goodwill tennis courts; and the new tennis and basketball courts at Patoma.  He never stopped pushing to make this town a more fun and functional recreational community.  These projects reflect that effort. 

Three separate Parks and Recreation directors worked under Tom’s leadership, but the longest tenured director to work with Tom was Kristen Hedrick.  Tom and Kristen worked hand-in-hand for many years, supporting one another in their efforts to make the community a more welcoming recreational place.  Kristen had this to say about Tom’s time on the Parks Commission, “I have thoroughly enjoyed Tom’s mentorship and working with him with the Parks and Recreation Department over the years.  He is a true leader and inspiration. Regardless of the complexity of any project, Tom has always put the people and the community first.”

We sincerely hope to be able to send Tom off the way he deserves in the near future.  In the meantime, thank you Tom for your time, your dedication, your never-give-up attitude, and for everything you’ve given this community. It’s a better place because of you. 

See what’s happening at the Parks this Spring and Summer -> https://www.townofholliston.us/sites/g/files/vyhlif706/f/uploads/2021springsummer5_0.pdf

The Publishers

3 Comments

  1. Steve Bradford on March 19, 2021 at 10:22 am

    One of Holliston’s Good Guys. Always there. Thank you for all you have done Tom.

  2. Inge Daniels on March 19, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you for this article recognizing some of Tom’s many contributions to our town. He’s an unsung hero who quietly and steadfastly has been helping grow the Parks Dept, building (as you write, often literally!) our recreational facilities, and all-in-all improving Holliston. Thank you, Tom “I got a guy for that” Chipman!

  3. Mary Greendale on March 20, 2021 at 10:01 am

    A Holliston native with deep, deep roots, Tom loves this town and has showed that love over many years with lots of hard work. I recall when he “Lit up our lives” at the Middle School ball park and installed lights for night games. One of many jobs well done. Thank you, Tom, is an understatement.

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