SOMERS, N.Y. – Thelma Barlow recently got a call from Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy’s office, telling her she was about to be nominated to state Sen. Greg Ball’s roster of 40th District Women of Distinction.
“I said, ‘There must be somebody else,’” Barlow says. Not quite sure of just why she was honored, Barlow begins to list things she has been involved in.
“I’ve been with the Boy Scouts for 40 years,” she says. “I started as a den mother for Pack One. These days they call it a den leader.” Now she is the Somers commissioner of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. Scouting “builds character, teaches trust and good citizenship for the community and the country,” she adds.
For nearly 50 years Barlow has been active in the Yorktown Grange. The 2011 Grange Fair was the organization’s 87th annual event. “People come from all over to show their products and animals,” she said.
Barlow recalls too that she has been granted some other awards, among them the Lions Club’s Uplinger Service Award (for setting the highest example of character, ideals, purpose and service) and the General Douglas MacArthur Youth Award for Exemplary Service, given by the Yorktown Masons.
One of her most coveted awards is the Silver Beaver, the highest award given to an adult by the Boy Scouts of America. Significantly, it is presented to people who do not actively seek it.
When she is not donating her time to organizations, Barlow finds ways to look after local children. For example, though retirement age has long passed, she is still a school crossing guard for Somers Middle School.
Asked about her greatest achievement, however, Barlow says, “The double yellow line on Route 139 opposite the fire station, in front of the high school. I circulated a petition and went to the legislators to get that line put in.”
Barlow was born in South Wales, was orphaned, and came to the U.S. to live with her older sister, a war bride. Her multiple contributions to her adopted country will be recognized at Ball’s Women of Distinction award ceremony on Friday, March 30. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Putnam Emergency Services Center in Carmel. A reception will follow. (ARTICLE)