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Tom Boothe posthumously awarded ‘Citizen of the Year’

Tom Boothe (Provided photo)

SARANAC LAKE — In a small private gathering last week at Dewey Mountain, Tom Boothe was posthumously awarded the Don Duso “Citizen of the Year” award. The award goes to a community member who has shown significant contribution to the community of Saranac Lake and its surrounding areas.

Tom Boothe passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 30, 2020, and Betty Boothe, Tom’s wife of 48 years, was present to receive the recognition.

“The Citizen of the Year recognition is an honor bestowed on an individual who exemplifies Saranac Lake’s community spirit, and, with Tom, there was no competition,” said Patrick Murphy, Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce executive director. “His love for the Saranac Lake area is on display in many ways throughout the community. Tom gave a lot to us and for that, we are all incredibly grateful. We hope that people will see this recognition as only a small measure of the love and gratitude we have for Tom.”

Every year, nominations are collected from the community to honor an individual for their significant and sustained contribution to the quality of life in the area. Nominations are reviewed by past-recipients of the award and then selected from a consensus of the group.

“Tom was the quintessential Citizen of the Year,” said Melinda Little, who was honored in 2014 as a Citizen of the Year. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor and recognition.”

Betty Boothe stands at outside the lodge at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center while display the Citizen of the Year award that was presented to her husband Tom. (Provided photo)

One way his impact on the community is on clear display is at Dewey Mountain. Booth was one of the biggest supporters of the new ski lodge, not only financially but contributing his time to help shepherd the project to completion. A plaque with Tom’s honor was chosen for display at the lodge for the community to share in his recognition.

His reach did not stop at Dewey Mountain. He was also chairman of AdkAction’s Board of Directors and chairman of the village’s Development Board. In a message remembering Booth after his death, AdkAction stated that it “will forever be a stronger organization thanks to Tom’s work to advance vibrant and inclusive communities and environmental sustainability in the Adirondacks.”

Most recently Boothe was focusing on the Emergency Food Packages project that provided 64,710 meals during the pandemic, providing tens of thousands of people in need with food and local farmers with support.

“Tom brought all of his heart, soul, humor, and experience to the community, providing outstanding service,” said Lindy Ellis, Franklin County legislator and neighbor. “Tom brought people together with his knowledge and savvy from his Naval career. He was a good husband and father, a good neighbor, and a good guy. Thank you to his family. Tom will be missed.”

The Don Duso “Citizen of the Year” recognition is one of four recognitions the chamber awards annually. The chamber has also recognized Adirondack Health and Trudeau Institute as co-Business of the Year due to their ongoing collaboration during the pandemic, and a group of dedicated local makers and crafters for their efforts providing face masks to the community as Volunteers of the Year (a video honoring them is available at slareachamber.org/volunteers), and Olivia Bell, a 2020 graduate of Saranac Lake High School, as the Energizing Entrepreneurship High School Scholarship recipient.

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