Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

May 16, 2013

Virginia Cole honoree recalls 'mentor'

Tina Girdwood has always credited town philanthropist and legendary volunteer Victoria Cole for motivating her decades of service to the town, including her initial run for School Committee in 1995.

So it’s no surprise that when Girdwood received the Virginia Cole Community Service Award at Town Meeting last week, all she could shake out was that Cole “was a very close friend” before she lost her composure.

Girdwood — the president of the Andover Coalition for Education who has contributed decades of volunteer service to the town including three terms on the School Committee — was one of three Andover residents recognized for their civic work.

Dick Collins, a 54-year veteran of the Andover school system, and Police Chief Brian Pattullo, who will soon retire after 32 years of service to the town, were both honored as well.

In presenting Girdwood’s award, School Committee Chairwoman Paula Colby-Clements said she first started collaborating with the honoree through her work with the Andona Society and its support of educational programs at Andover High School.

“I was immediately struck by her commitment to and passion for supporting educational initiatives in her schools,” Colby-Clements said.

Girdwood “embodies every trait a community could hope for in a citizen,” Colby-Clements continued. “She’s engaged, caring, patient and persistent, but always gracious.”

When asked to describe how receiving the award named after her late friend felt, Girdwood said she was left “virtually unable to say much, which is always a bit undoing when you’re surprised like that.”

“I worked alongside (Cole) on many of my town involvements, going way back to the ‘70s,” Girdwood said. “She was a real mentor to me, and once I was on the School Committee, I found that she was a wise sage, always somebody who was helpful to talk to and share experiences.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Townspeople
  • 140415_AT_ASW_DAY_2

    AMY SWEENEY/Staff photo Leila Aruri and Police Chief Patrick Keefe learn a little bit about each other at Memorial Hall Library during the introductions for last week's Youth in Town Government Day. Thirteen students from Andover High School shadowed local officials as part of the third annual day sponsored by the Andover/North Andover League of Women Voters. Story, more photos, Page 16.

    Youth in Town Government Day offers insider's perspective on town's leaders Posted 52 minutes ago 5 Photos
  • 140419_et_tje_animalday_02

    TIM JEAN/Staff photo Briana Davis, 11, says hello to Emmett, 3, a pit bull up for adoption at Underdog ResQ in Framingham, during Animal Rights Day activities.

    Animal Attractions Posted 52 minutes ago 6 Photos
  • AT MONTBLEAU

    Mary Montbleau

    A salute to community service; Andover Chamber to recognize efforts of 3 honorees Posted 52 minutes ago 2 Photos
  • AT ULOWELL1

    TORY GERMANN FOR UMASS LOWELL/Courtesy Photo Louis Coiro of Andover was honored by UMass Lowell at its University Alumni Awards last week. The 1982 graduate of the university owns Tewksbury Physical Therapy and Drum Hill Physical and Sports Therapy in Chelmsford.

    Local man wins UMass Lowell Alumni Award Posted 52 minutes ago 2 Photos
  • Rotary Club to honor Andover's unsung heroes Posted 7 days ago
  • FOSTERS POND2

    STEVE COTTON/Courtesy photo A team from Aquatic Control Technology applies herbicide to Foster's Pond in 2011 as part of the Foster Pond Corp.'s continuing efforts to combat invasive weeds there. Aquatic biologist Marc Bellaud, who is at the controls of the 18-foot airboat, is the featured speaker at the group's 75th birthday commemoration on April 29.

    Turning 75, Foster's Pond Corp. looks to the future Posted 7 days ago 2 Photos
  • YMCA2

    RYAN HUTTON/Staff photos Lina and Enzo Fossella, of Andover, pose with Merrimack Valley YMCA CEO Steve Ives, center, at the 23rd annual auction fundraiser for the Merrimack Valley YMCA.

    Lending support for the Merrimack Valley YMCA Posted 7 days ago 2 Photos
  • Thursday, April 10, 2014
  • SCOUTS SKI1

    Courtesy Photo Boy Scout Troop 76 based at Ballard Vale Church in Andover traveled to Mt. Cranmore last month for its annual Ski Trip.

    Ski trip for Troop 76 Boy Scouts Posted 14 days ago 2 Photos
  • Kiwanis Club readies annual charitable Feast Posted 14 days ago
  • GREEK2

    Courtesy photo The students from Greek Language School of Andover demonstrate a traditional dance at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church during a program commemorating the 1821 Greek War of Independence.

    Celebration of Greek independence Posted 14 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week
Stocks