Litchfield Celebrates Pat’s 90 Birthday

March 9, 2018


by Len Lathrop

It seemed not very important to have Jewett in the title. If you know Litchfield and anyone mentions Pat, everyone knows you’re talking about M. Patricia Jewett. Pat turned 90 on March 1, and there was a surprise party for her on Saturday, and on Monday, in the selectmen’s chambers, the Fourth Annual Pat Jewett Volunteer Appreciation Award was presented to Barry Bean.

Litchfield Selectmen declared March 3 the M. Patricia Jewett Day in town and Board Chairman Brent Lemire read and presented the proclamation at the surprise party. With 125 folks in attendance in the meeting room of the Litchfield Community Church, it was a time of memories and celebration, and, as anyone who knows Pat knows, no one had a better time than Pat. But the highlight of the evening was when Linda Peeples noted to everyone that it was hard to get gifts for Pat as she did not want any. The song by The Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men,” started to play, and out from the children’s room came a gaggle of men, all with party hats on, to dance for Pat. And, of course, there was cake and food. Think of everything that you love to eat and it was there.

Now Laura Gandia who organizes the Annual Pat Jewett Volunteer Appreciation Award was there but was tight lipped to the media as to who the fourth annual award winner would be; everyone would have to wait until Monday.

Monday the award was presented to Barry Bean, nominated for the honor by Linda Peeples, Sandy McCarty and Diane Planshy. Gandia told everyone who Barry Bean was, interrupted by applause from the gallery. “Mr. Bean is seen by so many in town and his visual presence has made such an impact on so many… He proudly served his country in the U.S. Marines from 1967-1973. He served three tours in Vietnam. He possesses a great love for his country and served his country nobly. His service for other did not stop there. He later became employed by the Plymouth Fire Department and achieved the rank of captain for three years and later became an EMT once again helping out those in need.

“In 2000, he lost a very dear friend due to effects of Agent Orange which sparked his ever presence interest of helping people, and he helped in creating a detachment group in Hudson for Marine Corp League whose purpose was to help veterans in need, promote patriotic activities, and recognize those who have served. Spearheading many of the activities, he was able to provide handicap equipment for veterans in need and his presence was seen in numerous parades. His kind heart and spirit was felt by many who were affected by their time serving our country in Vietnam.

“His desire to serve did not stop there. He came actively involved for Toys for Tots, and he still participates with that organization today collecting toys and bringing them to the Community Church here in Town to help out Litchfield families in need…

“But all of this is not what grabs at the heart strings of many Litchfield residents – it is something completely different. It is his constant presence in the morning walking and helping the community without being asked by picking up litter along the streets of Litchfield. He is not part of any group, organization or club – it is just him. On any given day, you can see him walking with a smile, salute, nod or wave. You may have seen him stop at the flag outside of town hall to salute. He has a stick that he uses to pick up litter that was made by Keith in 2010 which displays portions of the American flag serving as a reminder of his love and service for his country and for Litchfield. He has gloves from his nurse friend Michelle, a vest from his neighbor Paul, but he gives us, the residents of Litchfield so much more. The example he sets and the impression he makes on the children in town are invaluable… He embodies the kind of service, civic duty and volunteerism that makes him the perfect recipient for the Pat Jewett Volunteer Appreciation Award.

“And my favorite part of the Mr. Bean’s story is this … .back in 1978 right around the time, the Beans moved to town, Mr. Bean would see this woman walking the streets of Litchfield carrying a blue bag picking up trash, and her presence and actions touched him and stayed with him. So when he started walking he thought back to the memory of the lady who he saw picking up trash and thought if she could do it, then so can I. This lady made an impression upon him to help out the community in a quiet and simple way, and he started picking up trash leading by her example. This lady was none other than Pat Jewett. How fitting for tonight’s ceremony.”

Pat commented on what a great selection Barry was and how they have worked together on many projects for Litchfield and its citizens. She mentioned how at 90 her things to live by have changed from “firm, fair and fun” to “family, friends, faith and food.”