Story by Lourice Angie
The community of Warwick gathered on Sat., Mar. 25 in the Warwick Senior Center to honor and celebrate the exceptional work and community service of longtime Warwick resident and friend, Lon Tytell.
When thinking about the people in the community who have made an impact in other people’s lives throughout the years, there is no doubt that Lon Tytell is deserving of such special recognition. He has always gone the extra mile by dedicating his time and services to helping nurture generations of Warwickians, both past, present and future. The Town of Warwick and the Warwick Lions Club officially declared Sat., Mar. 25 as “Lon Tytell Day” in the Town of Warwick. Town Officials, family, friends, co-workers, fellow volunteers and community members came together to share stories, laughs and honor Lon for his exceptional years of community service.
Tables were filled with photos, articles, and memories of Lon’s early Jaycee and Lions Club days. Light refreshments, delicious appetizers, and desserts were offered at the celebration as Lon and his wife, Rosita, will soon be moving to North Carolina. Although everyone wishes them well in their future home, His absence will be greatly felt in the community of Warwick.
The celebration opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation led by Lions Club member, C.J Bulnes. Warwick Lion Doug Stage did an amazing job of welcoming and introducing guests while sharing kind memories of Lon from throughout the years, referring to him as innovative and the type of person who gets things done for the community. Stage also presented Lon with a plaque on behalf of the entire Lions Club in recognition of his service for over 40 years.
Warwick Town Supervisor and past Jaycee, Michael Sweeton, shared a few words in which he thanked Doug Stage and the Lions Club for organizing such a special event. Sweeton also read the Town Board’s resolution proclamation which officially proclaimed the day as “Lon Tytell Day.” He also presented the proclamations of Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and New York State Senator John Bonacic.
“When I joined the Jaycees, one of the first things I took was public speaking and management classes,” said Sweeton. “Lon was the teacher of the speaking class and I personally credit Lon for helping me with that. We are very grateful.”
Orange County Legislators Barry Cheney and Paul Ruszkiewicz shared a few special words, congratulating and commending Lon. “The accomplishments you’ve made in this Village and on behalf of the Town, and the things you’ve done are an example that a lot of people should recognize and possibly try to emulate in the future” said Cheney.
Jack Ellis, who represented both the Knights of Columbus and the Warwick Historical Society, spoke of his longtime friendship with Tytell. He presented Tytell with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Knights of Columbus, a lifetime membership to the Warwick Historical Society, and a bag filled with goodies.
Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard shared his story of first meeting Tytell at a Jaycees meeting and added, “I cherish the years we’ve worked together to make our community a better and stronger place. Working with you, Lon, means so much to us in Warwick; we will miss you.” Mayor Newhard then jokingly added, “For years I kept a folding chair in my trunk just in case you needed it.”
Jennifer O’Connor, Editor of the Warwick Valley Dispatch, sincerely thanked Tytell for all of his dedication and service to the newspaper. She went on to personally thank his wife as well for all of her patience and help. “We thank you very much. We will miss you very much. I wish you didn’t have to go but I understand,” said O’Connor.
Next up to the podium was Michael Johndrow, the Executive Director of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce who said, “Lon, I can’t speak for all the 38 years because I have only been here for ten, but in those ten years you have been a heck of a guy, and I appreciate working with you. I know the Village will miss you.”
There was an immense feeling of support in the room. Both Tytell and his wife were all smiles and displayed sincere gratitude to everyone for their kind words. Tytell was then invited to take to the podium to speak to the guests. He shared a few personal memories, accomplishments and milestones and then added, “The biggest accomplishment that I ever had was marrying my wife, Rosita.”
“It has been a pleasure meeting such wonderful people who care about the community. My wife and I are so appreciative to everyone who attended the party. We will miss you all,” Lon concluded.
For all who have interacted with Tytell over the years, whether personally, as a teacher, as a community volunteer, or through his work as a reporter for the Warwick Valley Dispatch, one thing if for certain his unparalleled loyalty, commitment, and support for the community and its children will be greatly missed. He has inspired many to keep going, to stand up for their beliefs, and to speak out about important issues. He has been a true example of a leader who has helped improve the lives of Warwick citizens. His confidence, his great sense of humor, and his love of laughter have been experienced by so many.
Achievements & Service
Lon served the nation for over 23 years as a member of the U.S Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of Sergeant First Class. Lon was an elementary school teacher in the Warwick Valley Central School District for 35 years, creating a curriculum that introduced children to the rich history of the Warwick Valley.
He joined the Warwick Jaycees in 1975 and created Bicycle Safety Day, chaired the Outstanding Young Teenager and Young Farmer projects, and the Public Speaking Project, which has helped many people within the community overcome anxiety and fear of public speaking.
In addition he was chairman and participated in the Holiday Food Basket project and the Christmas Shopping for Children in Need project for 20 years. He then successfully transitioned the project to the Warwick Lions upon the demise of the Jaycees, where it has grown tremendously.
Lon held many District and State offices in the Jaycees and he received many awards for his service to others including: one of three Outstanding District Directors for the NYS Jaycees, the Distinguished Service Award, the Dick Stage Memorial Award, Jaycees Project of the Month, Jaycee of the Year, Outstanding President of the Jaycees, Outstanding District Director of the Year NYS Jaycees, and Outstanding Regional Director of the month several times.
He was named Jaycees Warwick Outstanding Citizen of the Year for 1991 and Outstanding Young Man in America in 1980 and 1981. He started and chaired the Ultimania Basketball Project for five years.
He joined the Warwick Lions in 1978, chairing and participating in numerous projects including: the Senior Citizen Picnic, the SEE program, the Labor Day Race, the golf outing, ringing the bells for the Salvation Army and many others. He rose to President of the organization and received the prestigious Robert J. Uplinger Award, as well the Melvin Jones Award. He brought the first woman into the Warwick Lions who later became the first woman president of the Warwick Lions and also brought about 25 new members into the Club.
Tytell is recognized by many for his work at the Warwick Valley Dispatch, where he worked as an ad sales representative and a photojournalist, writing endless stories and covering ribbon cuttings over the years, too numerous to count, and covering the community of Warwick from 1978 to today.
To learn more information on the Warwick Lions Club, visit www.lionsclub.org. Guests are welcome to drop in to a meeting. The club meetings on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7 p.m.