The Reverend Joseph Shea Memorial Award

The Reverend Joseph Shea Memorial Award shall be awarded annually providing there is a clear consensus that there is an appropriate recipient. The award shall be presented to a member who has exhibited exemplary service to the New England 65 Plus Runners Club - or to the sport of running in its various manifestations, or to the running community at large. It will be made with no special regard to a nominee’s running prowess or accomplishments and will have no bearing on the considerations for any other awards the Club may bestow.

Procedures for determining the recipients of the award

appear at the bottom of this page. Note that the Board of Directors voted at its April 30, 2014 meeting to revise the makeup of the Reverend Joseph Shea Memorial Committee, that revision noted in red font below.

2022 Charlie Farrington

Jan Holmquist presented the Rev. Shea Award to Charlie Farrington for his service to The NE 65+ Runners Club. She noted just a few of the many things which Charlie regularly does for the Club such as setting up at Jerry’s Run for All Ages or ordering the plaques for the Hall of Fame. She noted that he even had to order his own plaque for the award, to which Charlie quipped, “At least I know my name will be spelled right this time.” He also humbly thanked everyone, adding that he was “honored to have been nominated.”

2021 Three Recipients

At the 2021 Annual Luncheon the Reverend Shea award was presented to three recipients:

· Carrie Parsi (2019)

· Tom Abbott (2020)

· Jerry LeVasseur (2021)

2018 Dan Dodson

Several members nominated Dan Dodson to receive the Rev Shea award at the annual luncheon.

He has been the presence of the 65+ club at more races than any other member, he has recruited more new members than any other member, he writes his monthly column for the e-news, he has been on the Board representing MA and then NH for 8 years, he often picks up Lou Peters to get to races, he visited Ray Cormier several times when he became hospitalized...he is very deserving of the Rev. Joseph Shea Award.

2017 Mel Fineberg

Mel has benefitted the running community with numerous volunteer leadership activities. For the 65+ club, Mel served on the Board as a delegate from Maine. He over saw the Banner Races (formerly called Flag Races). The Mother's Day 5K in Maine served as the model for the other Banner Races. Over the years, Mel has helped with the Run For All Ages and always attends the Annual Banquet. Mel is also a past president of the Maine Track Club.

2016 None

2015 Andy Lewis

Andy's extensive service to the New England 65 Plus Runners Club has been readily apparent for a number of years, especially to those who serve on the Board of Directors. He has been a stellar treasurer, keeping well managed records of all the Club's financial transactions, and reporting them in orderly understandable reports to the Board at its regular meetings. In addition, he often has valuable suggestions about how the Club could improve its financial management.

Andy has served on the Race Committee for the Run For All Ages for an extended period. He has played a major role in steering the Committee through the transition from the Jerry Panarese epoch to a committee where the work has been more widely shared. Involved in all aspects of the Committee's work, Andy's contributions have been readily apparent on race day when he dives into all of the work in setting up the race to tearing it down when all the shouting is over. He has been a strong and tireless worker at those events. It is that same kind of enthusiasm he exhibits in many ways, helping at Board meetings whenever anything has to be done.

He serves the Club well as a great guy to be around - with his tireless humor and large laugh, with his uniquely British perspective presented in his polyglot English.

2014 Jim McLaughlin

Jim McLaughlin was the Newsletter editor for a long time when it was a paper snail mail copy.

He is a past Director and past President of the club. Jim attends Directors meetings regularly and supports the NH flag race. Jim chaired the annual luncheon program when we celebrated the club's 20th year anniversary. He remains active now with the sport of croquet.

2013 Bob Hall

Bob Hall has been a member for 10 years, contributing in countless ways during that period. He served as president (2004-2005), Chair of the Hall-of-Fame Committee and the Reverend Joseph Shea award committee. He worked on the Bylaws Review Committee (2006), and became web master in 2004. In addition he serves as our Assistant Treasurer. He has run in many races over the years, among the most notable the Mt. Washington Road Race. He won his age division in that grueling climb six times - the last at age 81, which was good for a national championship in a time of 2:34.

For 13 years he has been the leader of the Concord Runners, an informal groups that has grown from a few men in 1978 to more than 120 men and women in 2013.

Bob was inducted into the New England 65+ Runners Club Hall of Fame in 2011.


No award was made in 2012.

2011 Barbara Robinson

Barbara Robinson has been a behind-the-scenes worker for the Club in several ways. Most importantly, she has assisted our treasurers for fourteen years in the annual fund drive, the single largest source of the Club's income. Barbara has accepted all of the contributions received in the mail, kept confidential records of them and sent thank-you letters to all who gave. She continues in that capacity today. Barbara has also been a tireless and successful advocate for the recognition of older runners in races, talking race directors into adding age categories beyond 65 years to their awards groups. Her voice on the Hall-of-Fame Committee has also been a most welcome one. Her enthusiasm for our sport is infectious, and with her Hall-of-Fame credentials she is an inspiration to us all.

2010 Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson is known for Service with a capital S. He has served this club in various capacities. most notably as a Director for twelve years and assisting the president in managing the reservations for the annual luncheon for eight years. In that considerable task he worked to get out the luncheon annoucements (to more than 600 members in recent years), collected the responses and the money and made sure that everyone got what they wanted to eat. This kind of service came naturally to a gentleman who had served the Cranston Road Runners as secretary for 22 years. For the last 12 years the members of that club have run from his house at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Ken has also served on the Committee of the Annual Marine Corps Luncheon as well as his church. For the last several years, he has volunteered to work for security at the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Both he and his wife Joan, also a member of our Club, have received accolades for befriending runners at this prestigious event. A year ago, one of Ken’s granddaughters asked him to help her run so that she could try out for the high school track team. To Ken’s delight, she made the team. She is now running cross – country, indoor and out - door track. Then her mother (Ken’s and Joan’s daughter) decided she would give running a try. She did and is now the one picking out races to run. Ken has had the thrill of running several races with his wife, daughter and granddaughter. Ken is shown here with Florence Dagata, an earlier recipient of the award, as she presented his award to him at the annual luncheon in September 2010.

2009 Dr. Ray Cormier

Dr. Ray Cormier, shown here with Vice President Phil Pierce, was the recipient of the award this year. Perhaps no one has done more for the Club for so long as Dr. Ray. One of the founders, he has been significantly involved in nearly every aspect of the Club's activities, most notably as its Treasurer and Board Member since the beginning in 1991. Only at the end of this year did he relinquish that position. Ray served as the prime mover in establishing our Hall of Fame, and for some years it seemed that he and the Rev. John Noftle were the HOF Committee. Ray saw to it that there was a public display of the Hall's members at what is now the Days Inn in Methuen, MA, just off Route 93. Ray has also been instrumental in organizing the Annual Meeting and Luncheon, everything from the location to the menu, the program and the seating. One could always be certain that all of the details were taken care of when he was on the job. Jerry Panarese, head honcho for the Run For All Ages, will tell you too that Ray is always a great help in making the race the success it is. And could you meet a nicer guy? No way Jose!

2008 Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson, shown here with Jerry Panarese, Director of the Run For All Ages, at the Annual Luncheon in 2008, when Nancy was presented with the Reverend Joe Shea Memorial Award. It was most fitting that Jerry presented the award to Nancy; she was his Girl Friday when it came to putting on the race. Nancy was in charge of pre- and race-day registration, the latter always a stressful and hectic time. Through it all she remained, outwardly at least, calm, cool and collected, and the mistakes, mostly runners errors, always get corrected, one way or another. Nancy has served on the RFAA Committee since the inception of the race in 2001, a reliable member at all Committee meetings with sage advice about how to make a good thing better. Nancy has also served to retrieve race results for our members from the Cool Runnng website, a tedious and time consuming job, especiallywhen done completely manually as it was at the time she served. As former president Jim McLaughlin has noted, "Is there anythiing I can help with?" are words that personify Nancy.

2007 Phyllis Mays

Phyllis Mays is shown here on the left with President Fred Zuleger and Florence Dagata at the presentation of her award at the annual luncheon in 2007. Phyllis has earned the respect and admiration of all the members who have had any administrative responsibilities in the Club. As Membership Chair for many years she has been the first response to new members, making sure they are added to the list of members, distributing information about them to Club officers, sending each a copy of the list, a copy of the Bylaws and a Club singlet. She has faithfully chased down changes in addresses and other changes in status and, in short, manages to keep us all in touch with each other. Before taking over membership duties she also helped in the tedious task of finding on the Cool Running website the race results of our members in many races throughout the year. Phyllis continues to run and race, and to keep busy as she approaches the age of 80 she teaches computer skills several days a week.

2006 John Gray

John Gray, the running journalist, was a leading writer about long distance running in the days when no one was paying attention to the sport. " I Love to Run and Run and Run" was a featured articla in the Saturday Evening Post, and he contributed to the Yankee Journal and Sports Illustrated among other publications.His writing talents served our Club well in his role as secretary and contributor of many articles to the Newsletter. John began his teaching career as an English teacher at Newton High School. He ended it many years later as a teacher and track-and-field coach in Easton, MA. In 66 years of running and race walking John accrued the credentials for writing and coaching by competing for the Boston Athletic Association, and in later years as a race walker who won regional and national championships at 10, 20 abd 30 Kilometers.

2005 Lou Peters

Lou Peters, the guy on the left with hair (the other one is Bob Randall) is where he likes to be in this photograph, at the end of a race. Road racing is where his life is and has been for nearly 60 years. One of the 6 original founders of the Club, Lou has been a working presence at all of our races and other events, before, during and after, always ready to lend a hand. He is widely known throughout the runnng community and has served other clubs in other capacities in his long career.

2004 Florence Dagata

Florence Dagata,fourth president of the Club, also shown above with the 2007 recipient, continued the third presidents success in increasing significantly the membership while exhibiting her strength in getting members involved in the activities and responsibilities associated with running an organzation that had grown to more than 400 members. Her previous personal business experience was apparent in key personnel moves made on her watch, such as creating the positions of membership chairperson, assistant treasurer, fund-drive assistant and a nominating committee on the Board to find people willing to serve the Club in one capacity or another. The Club's Hall of Fame was established during her presidency, and she initiated state meetings of local members in Connecticut and Vermont to join the Rhode Island roster of such events. With the help of John Gray the Bylaws were revised and achieved a more business-like character. Florence, a race walker, set an example for older athletes who were never runners or were no longer able to run but still enjoyed the competition. She regularly medals in nearly every race/walk event she enters, and she can still talk a reticent member in to serving the Club in almost any postion from gopher to president.

2003 Jerry Panarese

Jerry Panarese, third president of the Club and director of the Run For All Ages since its inception, was and still is a work horse for the New England 65 Plus Runners. Membership grew from 250 to 385 durng his tenure. He established the first Flag Race with the Great Island 5K in New Castle, NH. Jerry developed a close friendship with Dave McGillivray, director of the Boston Marathon, a friendship that has proven to be extremely benificial to the Club. Dave regularly provides qualification waivers to the Marathon for 10 or more of our members unable to satisfy the qualification requirements but still burning with the competitive spirit. Jerry supervises a lottery in which the members participate to gain entrance. He also undertook the laborious task of finding out how all of our members fared in the race, searching the official race site with no search tools general enough to find all of our Runners. It was difficult enough when he began, but is even more formidable as the Club grew to more than 600 members in 2010. Still very much in charge of the RFAA he micromanges it in its every detail and never ceases to amaze his helpers by his ability to obtain virtually everything the race requires spending little or no money. That has allowed the Club to donate $1000 every year to the DMSE Foundation to support healthful exercise and diet in children.

Voting for the Recipient of the Award:

1. Nomination of candidates for the award should be made in a letter to the chairperson of the Rev. Joseph Shea Memorial Award Committee. The letter should explain why the nominee is deserving of the award. Any supportive materials are welcome. The chairperson should receive the letter by February 1 in the year in which the award is to be made.

2. The nominations should remain confidential, and this confidentiality should extend beyond the election.

3. The nominations will not be made known to the candidates, and therefore, the candidates can not be asked to submit information in support of their own candidacy.

4. Members will vote for a single candidate, and the candidate receiving the most votes will receive the award

5. The winner of the award will be notified of his award shortly after the election and be invited to the annual luncheon where presentation of the award will take place. The winner and a guest will be guests of the Club at the luncheon.

The Reverend Joseph Shea Memorial Award Committee:

The Committee will be known as the Rev. Joe Shea Award Committee (a somewhat easier title to handle). It will consist of the past recipients of the award and the current president who will serve as chairman. The current makeup of the Committee is as follows:

Past recipients: All of those described above except Bob Hall, Dr. Ray Cormier, John Gray, Barbara Robinson, Florence Dagata, Lou Peters, and Mel Fineberg who are deceased.

Current President and Chair: Steve Viegas