photos by Josie Kapral & Roger Riley
Lian Obrey is the recipient of the 2014 Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award for her many years of “Giving Back to the Community.” The award was presented to Lian at the annual City of Groton Day celebration on August 1st.
Lian was presented a check for $1,000 for her designated non-profit organization, The Light House. The charitable donation is the new symbol of the award. For the first ten years of the award, the recipient was presented a Hitchcock arm chair.
Groton Utilities named the award “The Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award” to commemorate Mrs. Nixon’s service to her community. Jackie, as she was known to most, operated a food pantry in her residence for 24 years. She distributed food on a regular basis to many needy families. Jackie passed away July 6, 2004 after a brief battle with cancer. Groton Utilities created the award in 2004 during its 100th anniversary year.
Lian has distinguished herself in many areas of community service, from fund raising for non-profit organizations, to contributing her time for the community and non-profit contributions, and serving on city and town committees and agencies. In nominating Lian for the award, Tricia Cunningham said, “In her time in Groton, Lian has truly made an impact and gives back to the community every opportunity she gets and has collaborated with others to make our community a better place to live and work.”
These activities include annual Realtors to the Rescue at her real estate office where she organizes a coat drive which results in some 200 coats designated for local social service agencies. She also holds an annual Charity Car Wash, whose tips go to the Children’s Miracle Network. The Light House, a local organization that assists the education and programming for individuals with disabilities, benefits from her occasional stints at Groton’s Ninety Nine Restaurant where she serves as a celebrity bar tender to raise funds.
Lian was one of the original founders of the Groton Business Association (GBA) for the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce. She was the inspiration for what we now know as Groton’s Annual Fall Festival, a town wide community event bringing the community together and 8,000 people to Poquonnock Plains Park to celebrate Groton. “These key Groton events would not exist without Lian’s ideas, passion, and ability to get others on board,” Tricia emphasizes. In addition, she had a strong influence in originating and maintaining Groton’s Annual Holiday Lights Parade.
Obrey is in the local economic environment by serving on the Town of Groton Economic Development Commission and the City of Groton Community and Economic Development Committee.
Earle A. Williams was the recipient of the first annual Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award. Other winners of the award are: Robert “Bob” Leeney, Mimi Orkney, Lillian “Lil” Hansen, Sarah Stanley, William “Bill” Welsh, Jr., Alfred Restivo, Robert “Bob” Austin LaFrance, Archie C. Swindell and Mildred “Milly” Carlson.