OUTSTANDING CITIZEN: During the half century she has lived in Bedford, Roberta “Bobbie” Ennis has served on more than 40 town committees, task forces, community civic groups, and social organizations. Now the 75-year-old has another title: 2012 Bedford Citizen of the Year.
Ennis will be recognized Saturday, and get a ride in a convertible during a parade, as part of the annual Bedford Day festivities. A reception, which will also feature the Bedford Minuteman Company’s ceremonial changing of officers, will take place Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Old Town Hall, 16 South Road in Bedford.
Ennis said her volunteerism began when her children were young and she was looking for something of her own to do in the evenings.
“I started slowly, and before you know it, you’ve got your hand in everything,” she said. “I’ve been in Bedford since 1961, and I know everybody, so when they ask for help, how can I say no?”
In one of several nomination letters, Ennis is praised for her “record of consistent service unmatched by anyone in Bedford,” as well as “demonstrated resiliency and vision as she has stayed on top of issues and priorities during changing times.”
Her past honors include a 2008 Distinguished and Dedicated Service Award by the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs for her longtime commitment to the town’s Council on Aging.
Ennis, who worked for nearly 20 years as an administrator at Mitre Corp. in Bedford, said she wouldn’t have been able to juggle her numerous responsibilities without the support of her husband, Lou. Now, she has some advice for her five children as they begin their own volunteer work.
“I tell them to be careful and not to overdo it, but they just laugh at me,” she said. “I just got appointed to the Patriotic Holiday Committee, so I guess I’m not slowing down.”
FAMILY’S BEST FRIENDS: In three generations spanning 70 years, Wellesley resident Kevin Walsh says, there has been one constant: his family’s love of its dogs.
Walsh, his 10-year-ld daughter Samantha, and his father, Bob Walsh, of Ledyard, Conn., share recollections of many of their 17 furry family members in the new book, “Follow the Dog Home: How a Simple Walk Unleashed an Incredible Family Journey.”
The project was inspired by the incident for which the book is named.
After moving to Wellesley in August 2009, Walsh noticed the family’s German shepherd, Beverly, seemed overly interested in sniffing around a particular home on Atwood Street during their regular walks. He remembered that an aunt had lived in Wellesley, and called to ask whether it had been her home. She told him she had lived on Abbott Street — but his father had lived on Atwood. Bob didn’t learn until that day that he had lived there when he was an infant.
Another remarkable coincidence occurred back when Walsh took his golden retriever, Susie, to live with him at his fraternity house at Purdue University in Indiana. She had the run of the campus, he said, and every day she got lost. One time, he tracked her down a block away in a student’s second-floor room. When Walsh asked for his name, the student replied, “Kevin Walsh.”
“She found the other Kevin Walsh on a campus of 40,000 students,” he recalled, still amazed.
According to Walsh, who is a TV sports reporter and newscaster, his father was the first to begin writing about the dogs in his life after he retired following a 45-year career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Walsh and Samantha began their contributions last year, with additional input from Kevin’s wife, Jean, and their 8-year-old daughter, Amanda.
“All our dogs have been great pets, but you can also look at them as bridges between the past and future,” he said. “They’re the only institution that has stood the test of time.”
For more information, visit www.followthedoghome.com.
ESSAY CONTEST: Young patrons of the Newton Free Library are benefiting from the recent purchase of an iPad through a gift from the Samuel Glass Memorial Fund.
A native of Romania, Glass came to the United States at age 8. He grew up in Roxbury, attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and served as an intelligence officer during World War II. After settling in Newton, he immersed himself in his love of history, current events, and activism on behalf of political candidates.
Glass is fondly remembered by the library staff as a regular patron who loved reading newspapers and books, and attending concerts and other programs.
The iPad, which will be kept in the library’s teen area, will contain news, political, and campaign-related apps to encourage youngsters to regularly read the news and participate in the political process.
In his honor, the Newton Free Library is inviting Newton’s middle and high school students to participate in the Politics of Inspiration Essay Writing Contest. The prize for first place is $100, second place is $50, and third place is $25.
Submissions will be accepted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the library’s teen desk from Wednesday through Oct. 12. For research guidelines and contest rules, call 617-796-1360 or visit www.newtonfreelibrary.net.
FOCUS ON WATER: The Belmont Citizens Forum, a nonprofit, grass-roots organization dedicated to preserving the town’s open space and quality of life, will present “Water Trouble: A Public Forum on Storms, Floods, and Pollution” from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the Winn Brook School cafeteria.
The free program will discuss water quality in Belmont’s waterways and the Mystic River watershed; flooding in the Winn Brook neighborhood, North Cambridge, and East Arlington; and proposed developments in the Alewife Reservation’s Belmont Uplands area.
The panel will include town residents Kathleen Baskin, director of water policy at the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Ralph Jones, a Belmont selectman and managing director of the Cadmus Group; and moderator Fred Paulsen, a Belmont Town Meeting member and senior counsel at Burns & Levinson LLP in Boston.
SAVING THE SEAS: Hawaii resident Greg Stone will be the featured speaker at the next Walden Forum session, 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the First Parish in Wayland’s meetinghouse, at routes 20 and 27 in the center of town.
In his presentation, “We Need the Oceans for Our Survival,” Stone will discuss the oceans’ benefits and problems, along with conservation measures that can be undertaken now and in future generations.
Stone, executive vice president and chief scientist for oceans with Conservation International, is an extensively published author and an authority on the Hector’s dolphin, native to New Zealand.
He also is an deep-sea technology and exploration specialist in using submersibles, and has produced an award-winning series of marine conservation films, and he has led expeditions for National Geographic to Antarctica, Thailand, and the Pacific islands.