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Aw Shucks Awards go to two Williston volunteers

Nov. 4, 2010

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

A Williston and a Jericho resident will be honored for their volunteer work in the Williston community next week.

Linda Poirier of Williston and Ted McKnight of Jericho were chosen as two of the recipients of Connecting Youth’s 15th annual Aw Shucks Award.

“The award is intended to recognize members of the community who are making a positive impact on the lives of youth,” CY Program Director Christine Lloyd-Newberry said. “People who are positive role models and doing great things for kids in the community.”

Poirier and McKnight were two of 11 people and businesses to receive the award.

Lloyd-Newberry said the award got its name because its recipients are often “some of the most modest individuals.”

“They tend to be the unsung heroes,” she said.

CY is a local organization that works to create a safe environment for young people. Lloyd-Newberry said the CY Board received nearly 50 nominations for the award.

Poirier volunteers with Girls on the Run, a non-profit program that encourages girls in grades three through eight to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. She is also involved with the Girl Scouts, the Parent’s Council in Williston and the Four Winds Program, a community-based education program that connects people with nature.

“Truthfully, it was basically, ‘Aw shucks, who me?’” Poirier said of her reaction to winning the award.

She said she has been the head coach of Girls on the Run for five years. A parent of five kids between the ages of 12 and 19, Poirier said all of her daughters participated in the program before becoming co-coaches.

“Hanging around with kids makes me tick,” she said, adding that volunteering is “a good thing for all of us.”

“I think the most important thing about volunteering is we set the stage for everyone else to do it, and especially the children,” Poirier said.

McKnight has “tirelessly given of his time to both the Williston Cross Country and Track and Field Teams” for three years, Lloyd-Newberry wrote in an e-mail to the Observer.

McKnight paces runners, sets up courses for meets, and supports the students and coaches. He has also stepped in a few times as a school dance chaperone.

McKnight could not be reached for comment.

Poirier and McKnight will receive their awards at a reception scheduled for Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Champlain Valley Union High School band room.

“We see time and again the effect an active community has on the lives of youth,” Lloyd-Newberry said. “We talk about leading by example, and these are people we want our kids to emulate.”

Editor Greg Duggan contributed to this article.