SRPC Honors Volunteerism in the Region


Among a crowd of friends and colleagues, Tom Crosby of Madbury, John Hotchkiss of Middleton, and Wallace Dunham of Madbury accepted awards for Excellence in Volunteerism at the Strafford Regional Planning Commission’s Annual Meeting. In past years, the awards given have been for excellence in regional planning. Last year’s winner, the City of Somersworth, was praised for their successes in municipal planning and sustained growth.

As volunteerism is vital to the efforts of SRPC and municipalities across the state, it is important to honor those who offer their services. Whether this includes serving on SRPC committees, or offering their expertise on Town Boards, Tom Crosby, John Hotchkiss, and Wally Dunham have demonstrated the importance of volunteerism on multiple occasions.  This spirit of civic engagement in the Strafford Region is extremely important. Civic engagement which is defined by Thomas Ehrlich in Civic Responsibility and Higher Education as:

“ working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”

Elrich goes on to explain that:

“a morally and civically responsible individual recognizes himself or herself as a member of a larger social fabric and therefore considers social problems to be at least partly his or her own; such an individual is willing to see the moral and civic dimensions of issues, to make and justify informed moral and civic judgments, and to take action when appropriate.”

This perspective of an individual recognizing him or herself as a member of a larger social fabric is one that all three of these individuals understand, as evidenced in their reasons for volunteering, and why they find it so valuable.

Tom Crosby, current SRPC Executive Committee Secretary/Treasurer, Commissioner, and Strafford MPO Policy board member, has lent his expertise to SRPC for over fifteen years. Tom grew up outside of Boston, but has family roots in the Town of Madbury. Choosing to move to the region after attending UNH, he settled in Madbury due to its rural small-town atmospherel, central location to the beach, mountains, and Boston, and his family who lived there. Tom also served on the Planning Board in Madbury for seven years, and on the Board at the Strafford Guidance Center, Red Cross, and the Great Bay Rotary. Explaining the necessity for community volunteer efforts, Tom explained that people should be involved with their communities so they know what’s going on and can contribute to their community.

Wallace Dunham, Wally to those who know him best, is also an exemplary individual when it comes to showcasing volunteerism. Wally, who is originally from Vermont, grew up in New Jersey before returning to Northern New England. From 1961-1966 he worked for UNH Cooperative Extension before becoming an Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Maine Orono. From 1968 to 1971 he earned his Doctorate from Cornell and returned to UMaine Orono as Dean of the College and Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.  Wally moved to Madbury in 1993 due to its rural character and the ease of becoming involved with local politics. He currently serves on the Madbury Planning Board and on Strafford MPO TAC as the Vice-Chairman. He also volunteered as a guardianship monitor for the Probate Court of Strafford County for over three years. When speaking to volunteerism, Wally explained that he volunteers due to his interest in public service and finds volunteering interesting.   He noted that he’s been fortunate- having had a successful career; he sees retirement as a time to give back. He also shared that volunteering is a good way to keep busy after retirement.

The third awardee, John Hotchkiss, grew up on a farm in the Town of Goffstown. After his time in the Navy, Jon attended UNH and earned a degree in Mathematics.  He met his wife Jan shortly after. John taught Math in New Hampshire for a couple of years, teaching in Berlin and Dover, before moving. John and Jan relocated to Jan’s hometown of White Plains, New York. Their Middleton home, originally a vacation home, became their permanent residence once they retired. Jon cited Middleton’s small town charm as the main reason he enjoys living there. His volunteer efforts include his service as Chair of the Strafford MPO TAC for the last two years, and subsequent two years to come. He also volunteers his time as a driver for the COAST North Bus, and is Chairman of the Middleton Board of Selectman, Emergency Management Director for Middleton, as well as the Assistant Health Officer.  Jon explained his volunteer efforts saying, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” He feels blessed to have a strong back and mind allowing him to give back to the community, which is important to him.

SRPC would like to take this opportunity to thank Tom Crosby, Wallace Dunham, and Jon Hotchkiss for their continued service to not only SRPC, but their respective communities as well. If it were not for the efforts of volunteers, such as these three, SRPC would not function as effectively as it does. We hope this draws attention to the importance of volunteerism on multiple levels, and again thank these individuals for their dedicated services.