Six Braintree residents will be recognized by the town of Braintree at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Peacemaker Celebration this Thursday for embodying the spirit and character that the civil rights activist exhibited throughout his life.
The annual celebration, which the town has been doing since 1992, seeks to point out those in the community that have set an example, and although most other towns just offer the day off, Braintree officials said that continuing this tradition is important.
“It’s an effort to honor people that have embraced MLK’s spirit and example through their efforts on behalf of the community - to recognize what these people have done for the community and how it sets an example we should all aspire to,” said Peter Morin, chief of operations and staff for the town.
Sunny Shaw, a co-chair of the MLK Peacemaker Celebration Committee, agreed that the event, and the tradition, were important.
“It's also a nice way to bring the community together for a joyful celebration and remind people everyone has something they can give to make the community better,” she said.
Previous speakers have included Deval Patrick, before he was governor. The honoree selection committee chose Patrick to speak at the time because of his work as assistant attorney general in charge of civil rights in Washington, DC.
This year, recognition will go to five Braintree residents and one mystery honoree that will be named on Thursday night.
Amongst the honorees will be Ruth Powell, a member of the historical society, a library patron, and a member of the Finance Committee for many years.
According to Shaw, Powell has spent much of her free time volunteering on numerous town boards.
“She has been…a lifelong supporter of Braintree in terms of its history and its intellectual community,” Shaw said.
Gale and Bob Fraser, known for their work volunteering at the Braintree Youth Center, will also be recognized.
In addition to their work at the Youth Center, the Frasers have also volunteered with the Council on Aging and at the Marge Crispin Center, an organization founded in the 1970s to help those in the community struggling with basic needs.
“They are very involved in the community and are generous with their time and resources to help with several generations in Braintree,” Shaw said.
Tom Corcoran, who has served on the Board of Health for 20 years, is also a noted honoree during this year’s awards.
Born in Bedford, Corcoran moved to Braintree after finishing his military service with the US Army. He went to work in the funeral business for many years, until opening up his own advertising firm.
“Tom lends a helping hand whenever he can in the town of Braintree, which is why he’s being recognized,” said Bill Hedlund, co-chair of the MLK Peacemaker Celebration Committee along with Shaw.
A former member of the Forth of July Committee, Corcoran is also a sitting member of the Mayor’s Wellness Committee, and a past president of the town’s Lion’s Club.
Finally, Arthur Dalton will receive recognition for the many years of work on behalf of the town.
A Braintree resident born and raised, Dalton became a firefighter and eventually the Fire Chief. He has also gained much notoriety selling spring water through Dalton Water Company, a company he founded in 1971.
“He has spent most of his time during retirement working with his son at Dalton Water Co., and [has attended] many road races and events held in the town of Braintree,” Hedlund said. “Dalton water bottles were donated graciously by the company [at many of these events]. He’s been a true scout, a true townie that deserves recognition for lending a helping hand.”
The sixth awardee is being kept secret until the event, where he or she will be announced and recognized by the town.
Typically more than 100 people show up for the event, which this year will feature Braintree High School’s Show Choir, welcoming remarks from Mayor Joseph Sullivan, and numerous speeches by town officials on behalf of the honorees.
The event will be held at Braintree Town Hall on Thursday, Jan. 12 with a reception, catered by Fasano’s Catering, lasting from 6 p.m. till 7 p.m. The program is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
“The receipts selected this year as well as in past years have that outstanding character quality [of Martin Luther King],” Hedlund said. “They have enhanced the quality of life to the citizens of Braintree and the South Shore, which is why they have been selected as honorees at this event.”