Sixth Annual “Beacons of History” Awards Held

BEACON – More than 200 supporters attended the Beacon Historical Society’s sixth annual “Beacons of History” awards on Nov. 10. The recognition honors those who have made substantial contributions to Beacon and who have helped to preserve its history and sense of community:

Organizational Honoree:
Melzingah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Founded in 1895 by Katherine Wolcott Verplanck, the Melzingah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is one of the most active DAR chapters in the nation. It is most notably known for its rescue of the c. 1709 Madam Brett Homestead from demolition in 1954, when plans called for a supermarket to be built on the site; it is not only the house of our community’s first European settler but also the oldest building in Dutchess County. In addition to operating the property as a house museum, the DAR chapter has long promoted local history, including its erection of the Mount Beacon Monument in 1900 and donation of the George Washington Bust in 1999. Members also volunteer at Castle Point VA Medical Center, organize Main Street banners to recognize veterans, conduct history essay contests and complete other service work as part of a worldwide service organization committed to promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism.

BHS President Diane Lapis presents award to Melzingah Chapter Regent Nancy Giordano.
BHS President Diane Lapis presents award to Melzingah Chapter Regent Nancy Giordano.

Individual Honoree:
Anthony Lassiter
Born in Highland Hospital in 1947, Tony was educated in the Beacon City Schools and drafted into the Army as a combat engineer. In February 1969, Sgt. Lassiter was sent to Vietnam, where he was injured by hostile forces six months later. Awarded a Purple Heart, he was honorably discharged in November. Tony then enjoyed a 30-year career at IBM, served as a Sergeant with the Dutchess Co. Sheriff’s Office and volunteered for 15 years on the Beacon Planning Board. He also volunteers on the City’s Housing Authority, as Vice Commander of American Legion Post 203, Quartermaster of the VFW (Military Order of the Purple Heart), Treasurer for the Beacon Lions Club and with the St. Andrew’s/St. Luke’s Church Food Pantry and the Spirit of Beacon Day Committee.

“As a special surprise at the event, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Robert Jenks presented, on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, a special commendation to Tony and 10 other Vietnam-era veterans in the audience to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War through a Department of Defense program that seeks to properly welcome these men and women home decades after their return from war,” said Beacon Historical Society President Diane Lapis. “It was very moving, and a wonderful testament to Beacon’s sense of community to see these men recognized.”

Members of Melzingah Chapter.
Members of Melzingah Chapter.

The event was a friend- and fund-raiser for the Historical Society. Special appreciation is extended to the five Mount Beacon-level sponsorships that ensured its success: City of Beacon Housing Authority, Art & Mary Lou Johnson, Karen & Denny Meyer, The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls and the VanBuren Family. The Beacon Historical Society was founded in 1976 to “preserve, procure and present whatever may relate to the natural and cultural history” of Beacon. Its collection includes books, records, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, maps, genealogies, portraits, relics, letters, journals, etc., and its purpose remains to educate the public and foster an awareness of Beacon’s history. Membership includes a monthly newsletter, at least eight special lectures each year and other historic programming/lectures. Visit www.BeaconHistorical.org for more information.

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