This year’s award winner was born and raised on Long Island. When our nation was in its greatest need, he joined the US Military in 1942 at the age of 22. His training took him to radio school in South Dakota, infantry training in Missouri, and ultimately to Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox. He was commissioned in the 101st Cavalry and was sent to fight in the European theater.
As the war was nearing its end, he was unfortunately captured in Vorbach, Germany and spent a very difficult two and a half months as a POW. Fortunately the advancing American Army caught up to the retreating Germans and our award winner was freed. Our recipient would spend the next 12 months in a hospital bed recovering from the injuries sustained during his capture, before returning home to the New York area with many commendations, including the Purple Heart.
After his commendable service to this great nation, our recipient moved to New York City and began a successful career in advertising. During his time in the city, he spent weekend after weekend searching Westchester County and Connecticut for a warm community to move to once his career in advertising was over. I’m sure this won’t surprise anyone here today, but our recipient immediately fell in love with Washington during his first visit and promptly bought a house, and moved here permanently in 1962.
The best way to characterize our award winner’s almost 50 years in Washington is by his selfless service and volunteerism to our community. Our recipient has served in many meaningful capacities in the many civic organizations that have helped shape the Washington community these many years into the wonderful and warm place we all love to call home.
Our winner has proudly served on the Village Improvement Society, the Washington Citizens Scholarship Fund and has been an active member in the American Legion. He also has served on the Board of Directors of the Washington Ambulance Association and played a key role in the development of Washington’s 911 emergency calling system.
Our award winner best displayed his leadership qualities as the president of the Lion’s Club for many years as well as his chairmanship of Washington’s Bicentennial Committee. I’m sure many of you remember all the fun events that year: the ball, the picnic, the staged battles, and of course probably everyone’s favorite, the first July 4th fireworks in Washington.
The fireworks were such a big hit, that there was genuine interest in town to start a tradition of having them every year. Our recipient seized on that interest and led the way, with the help of a few other dedicated Washingtonians, to start one of our most enjoyable traditions here in Washington, the July 4th Fireworks at Shepaug. He led this effort from its inception in 1981 through 2000, taking charge of all the arrangements, most importantly the fund raising. This was likely our award winner’s favorite pastime and it is a fitting tribute to him that the tradition goes on today.
Our award winner’s selfless giving of himself and his time to help keep the Washington experience alive and well is laudable. He has exemplified the characteristics of Leadership, Service, Character and Achievement that we associate with Stephen. Our award winner has served this great nation and community in many similar ways that Stephen did. And much like Major Reich, he has never sought attention or recognition for his tireless and endless amount of effort.
I am extremely pleased to announce the 2010 winner of the Major Stephen Reich Award for Exceptional Citizenship is Mr. Jack Muckstadt.