Dorothy Dwyer epitomizes what we seek in a Richard Patton Melick Award recipient. To quote the criteria: she is a “person who has unselfishly helped friends, neighbors, and strangers; and contributed as a volunteer to our community.”
Let me count the ways: Dot served our town for 24 years as a town meeting member. She worked for the Needham Public Schools for 16 years and was a volunteer in the school library while her children were growing up. For nearly ten years she volunteered at Traveling Meals, taking hot meals to the homes of people unable to get out.
At the Congregational Church of Needham, she was active in the Guatemala outreach program, raised funds through garage sales and bottle drives at the dump, served as a Parish Deaconess for 9 years, bringing comfort and spirituality to countless neighbors, served a term as a Deacon, volunteered in the church office on Special Gifts, and belonged to three pastoral committees who selected and called ministers for Needham. She also was a member of the Outreach Committee of Delegates, helped set up the Dewey Decimal System for the church library and taught Sunday School for ten years.
Beyond all this, Dot Dwyer, from 1985 until 1999, transported children from Lynn, Lowell, Boston, Bellingham and the Cape to visit their mothers, who were prisoners at the Framingham Women’s Reformatory. her youngest charge was only two months old. (The mother had the baby in prison.) Dot delivered the children to the Parent’s Room on Friday and picked them up on Sunday. What a selfless role model she was for these women!
Dot Dwyer is a quiet, modest, unassuming but dedicated person, who makes our community and our world a better place to live, but never sings her own praises. Tonight, we hope she will not mind if we sing them with enthusiasm and honor her with this award.