New residents welcomed, long-time contributors honored at annual Wilmington dinner

Leslie Gordon Kopec and Billie Loughran (Photo provided — Whiteface Visitors Bureau)

WILMINGTON — The town of Wilmington welcomed several new families to the community April 17 at its 38th annual Wilmington Community Dinner presented by the Whiteface Visitors Bureau.

Visitors Bureau Director Michelle Preston said the dinner was a chance to introduce new community members, and also for old friends who may not have seen each other for a while to catch up.

The dinner was held at The Hungry Trout restaurant and attracted 80 people, with welcoming remarks by Wilmington Supervisor Favor Smith.

Also honored were Wilmington Citizen of the Year Leslie Gordon Kopec, and Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Billie Loughran.

“Leslie has worked for the visitors bureau for over eight years, and has literally been my right hand,” Preston said. “She knows what to do when we put on an event without my having to say anything.”

Preston said Kopec was “mildly disappointed” that she couldn’t help put on the community dinner this year because — as the person being honored — it wouldn’t have seemed quite right.

Loughran was a long-time volunteer for the Wilmington Thrift Shop and “has been a part of Wilmington for a long time,” Preston said. In the days before modern emergency-services communications, it was Loughran’s job to take fire calls and manually sound the siren.

The new members of the community who were honored included David and Erica Mitchell, Caroline Coursant, Doug and Deb Hall, Larysa Murphy, Jenn Munsie, Andy Sugar and Bob Legere.

Preston said the dinner — which began as a cabin fever event to mark the end of winter — is a unique way for Wilmington to show new residents its neighborly disposition.

“Most of the people have come here before and have fallen in love with the area,” she said.

The dinner acquaints newcomers with organizations they might want to become involved with, and some friendly faces they might see again when they drop by Little Supermarket.

“It’s a chance to get them involved in different things, and to meet different people,” Preston said.


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