Rindge Citizen, Young Citizen of the Year announced

  • Reverend David Jadlocki, center, accepts the 2017 Rindge Citizen of the Year Award from Monika Diab and Matt Despres during the tree lighting ceremony on Friday. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Conant High School senior Ellie Graff, center, accepts the 2017 Rindge Young Citizen of the Year Award from Monika Diab and Matt Despres during the tree lighting ceremony on Friday. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, December 04, 2017 4:33PM

Reverend David Jadlocki of the First Congregational Church in Rindge has been named this year’s Rindge Citizen of the Year. 

Jadlocki, in an interview Monday morning, said the award came as a complete surprise as he originally thought the award was going to one of the members of the church.

“It’s so funny, it was hard to hear but I heard them talking about some of our programs, so I moved closer to hear what they were saying,” said Jadlocki, who has been pastor of the First Congregational Church since June 2012. “I’m very grateful for the recognition and I’m honored to serve this community.”

The Rindge Citizen of the Year award is given annually by the Rindge Athletic Men’s Social Club (R.A.M.S.) and TD Bank to a citizen that exhibits strong values and has made lasting contributions to the town. The award is given out at the town’s tree lighting ceremony with the accomplishments of the award recipient traditionally being announced prior to their name.

“He is always concerned about the kids and their families and their well-being, offering great suggestions on how to help members of the community out while maintaining a high level of respect and confidentiality,” said Matt Despres of the R.A.M.S., during his speech prior to Jadlocki’s name being called.

Jadlocki said he had never been to Rindge prior to becoming pastor at the First Congregational Church, but quickly came to love and want to contribute to the community.

“The town is full of generous and caring people,” said Jadlocki. 

That intersection for Jadlocki largely comes in the form of trying to eliminate food insecurity in the community and help people in their greatest time of need.

“It’s all about meeting people where they are without judgment,” said Jadlocki. “[Food insecurity] is a little more hidden in rural communities because many live down these lone, wooded driveways.”

Two church programs Jadlocki is particularly proud of are the Welcome Table – a monthly free meal at the church for the community to come together – and Got Lunch – a program that helps to feed food insecure children in the community during their school breaks.

Jadlocki said the church delivers about 100 roughly 25-pound bags of food to food-insecure children every week during vacations, giving children nutritious meals even when they aren’t in school.

The church has also launched a Healthy Kids Weekend Bag program, which offers food to children on the weekends. Currently the program is at Rindge Memorial School, but Jadlocki said it should expand to Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School by January. 

“I always look to where the greatest need and our greatest gifts intersect,” said Jadlocki. 

Also honored Friday was Conant High School senior Ellie Graff, who was named Young Citizen of the Year.  

“Her active school accomplishments, along with her local upbringing, inspires our Rindge children to follow in a path of volunteerism and community involvement,” said Monika Diab, store manager TD Bank in Rindge, who presented the award. “Her passion for serving others has clearly guided her towards a future of helping others.”

Graff was honored for her involvement with the Interact Club, working with the Rindge Recreation Department through the after school program, working with homeless people in Boston, and her traveling to Nicaragua and Mexico to help less fortunate families, and numerous other volunteering efforts both in the community and across the globe.

“[Graff] works extremely hard in everything she does, participates in activities including a school supply drive to Haiti, community cleanups, taking photos at community events,” said Diab. “She shares her knowledge, compassion, and eagerness to learn with all children.”

Graff, in an interview following the announcing of the award, said she hopes to continue her volunteering efforts in college and beyond, and is preparing to become a nurse.

“I want a career where I can help people,” said Graff, who said she would love to have her interests in nursing, children, and travel collide in a future career path. 

Of all of her accomplishments, Graff said she is most proud of her work with the Interact Club and the Rindge Recreation Department. 

“I’m really grateful for my job with the rec department, I would do it without getting paid,” said Graff. “And I’m really proud of my work with the Interact Club. It’s one of the most successful things I’ve been a part of.”