Chamber honors Lessard, Robinson
Ann Lessard listens to Irv Richardson, her presenter at the annual Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce banquet, where she was honored as Citizen of the Year on Thursday night at the Monadnock Country Club. Sitting at her right is her aunt, Celia Brooks of Peterborough, and next to Brooks is Ann’s husband, Joseph Lessard. Across the table are her grandson, Zeb Lessard, 10, of Keene, and her daughter-in-law, Miranda Nelken of Keene.
Peter Robinson, Business Leader of the Year, is congratulated by Jack Burnett, executive director of the chamber of commerce, left, and his presenter, Jim Grant, right.
PETERBOROUGH — Longtime teacher and active community volunteer Ann Lessard, recognized last week as Citizen of the Year by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, says she was delighted by the honor.
“I think it’s wonderful that a teacher got it,” Lessard said Monday about the award, which she received at a banquet on Thursday. “It was quite surprising. There hadn’t been a teacher in so long.”
Lessard, a graduate of Peterborough High School and Keene State College, spent 38 years as an elementary school teacher, then more than a decade as a substitute. In retirement, she tutored children who were having difficulty reading and became very active as one of the Friends of the Peterborough Library, was a founder of the Kyes-Sage used book store, organized senior lunches and a church youth group.
Lessard said she would encourage everyone to stay active in their retirement years.
“You have all these skills. You might as well keep using them,” she said.
The Chamber of Commerce also honored Peter Robinson, owner of Roy’s Market, as Business Leader of the Year.
Robinson, who was raised in Jaffrey, earned a degree in business from Northeastern University in Boston, and had a long career in sales and as a manufacturer’s rep, as well as a stint as a charter boat owner in the Virgin Islands. But he said he’d never been involved with a retail business until he and his wife, Amilbia, purchased Roy’s Market and Little Roy’s from his uncle, Albert Roy, in 2004.
Robinson said Monday that it’s been very satisfying to have a business with close ties to the community.
“We’re quickly coming up on serving a fourth generation of customers,” he said. “Everybody has been so kind to us. We really appreciate their support.”
Robinson said Peterborough offers a unique climate for businesses, one that’s not found if you travel over Temple Mountain to the more populous parts of the state.
“Over there, there’s really no sense of community,” he said. “Commerce without community is really a hollow experience.”
That’s a sentiment that Lessard, who had many people helping her over the years, would second.
“At the dinner, I had everyone stand who has helped me in my projects; there were 50 or 60 people there,” Lessard said. “I said this is one of those villages that makes Peterborough a great town, when you think of all the people who volunteer.”