The Warwick Valley Rotary Club has selected Tom Buchanan and Paul Orthmann as Warwick’s 2017-18 Outstanding Community Service Award winners. Both men were selected for their years of volunteer contributions to the local community.
Along with this year’s Warwick Citizen of the Year, Stan Martin, they will be honored during a celebration to be held on Wed., Oct. 25 with an open bar social hour at 6 p.m., followed by food at 7 p.m. The Landmark Inn is located at 526 Rte. 94 N. in Warwick.
Tom Buchanan, a 41-year resident of Warwick, has a lengthy record of community volunteer activities. He is a past president of the Warwick Lions Club and worked with George McManus is organizing the first Lions Labor Day 5K Run/Walk. Buchanan played a key role during the early years of Applefest with “Apple Betty” Garrison, until the torch was passed on to others. Throughout the 1990s, Tom assisted the award-winning Queen Village Queens Drum and Bugle Corps as a bus and truck driver. Every Thursday night he would drive the instrument truck to Kings Elementary School for practice, unload the instruments and stay throughout practice to assist in whatever was needed.
Besides being a member of their Board of Directors, he drove the Queen’s big bus throughout the state to participate in parades almost every weekend from early spring to late fall. Buchanan, an accountant, has been a member of the Warwick lodge of the IOOF (Independent Order of Oddfellows) for more than 20 years, serving as chaplain, secretary and noble grand. He was awarded “Outstanding Oddfellow of the Year” for his dedication and contributions to the lodge.Buchanan continues dedicating himself to community service as vice chair of the Board of Directors for Access: Supports for Living (formerly Occupations). Access dedicates itself to helping people with developmental disabilities and behavioral health.
Paul Orthmann’s son says his father prefers to operate quietly and, for the most part, anonymously. Despite that, Lee Orthmann wanted to share some of his father’s accomplishments. That sentiment was also shared by Glenn P. Dickes, Warwick Co-Citizen of the Year in 2014-15 with his wife, Susan D. Dickes.
“Paul gives of himself in so many ways while avoiding notice or praise,” said Glenn.
Every two weeks, Orthmann leaves Warwick at 6:30 a.m. for the 65-mile round trip drive to the Hudson Valley Food Bank in Cornwall-on-Hudson to load his truck with food for the Warwick Ecumenical Food Pantry.
Lee says, “This is back-breaking work, loading and unloading a thousand pounds of food at a time.”
For the past 15 years, Paul and his family have purchased, put together and delivered 100 Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets of food and presents for migrant workers.
“Dad always insists we visit the neediest camps first,” said Lee. “One of my father’s goals long ago was to start a charitable family trust to support local charities.”
About 10 years ago, Paul Orthmann achieved that goal. Through his Hannah Charitable Foundation, named after his grandparents, more than $100,000 has been donated to Warwick non-profit organizations, including the Warwick Humane Society, the Warwick Ecumenical Food Pantry, Backpack Snack Attack, Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center, and the Alamo Farm Workers Center.
Recently he pledged his support for the new playground at Stanley-Deming Park, working with the committee to help design and completely fund the splash pad portion of the project. Orthmann is also quick to help neighbors in need. When he heard of a family that was considerably short of funds to buy a wheel chair accessible van for their son, he wrote a check for the balance.
Through his business, Warwick-based New Market Transportation, Orthmann has contributed to Warwick in Bloom, the Warwick Summer Concert Series, the Albert Wisner Library, and Warwick Youth Soccer.
His son wrote, “You’ll never meet a kinder, gentler and more giving man. Until now, only a few people were ever aware of his generosity, but I’m certain he’s touched the lives of hundreds of local residents. My dad is my hero because he supports the neediest, the voiceless, the animals, and the children. I’m so proud of my father and take great pride in knowing that many in our community breathe a little easier because of his efforts.”
Warwick Rotary Club member and Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton will serve as the master of ceremonies. WTBQ radio station owner and Rotarian Frank Truatt will provide music. Reservations are $60 per person and can be made by calling Kaytes at 629-6491 or by visiting www.warwickvalleyrotary.org.