The choice of Bob Sturgis as Harrisville’s “Citizen of the Year 2013” received enthusiastic applause at town meeting on March 11. Speaking for the selectmen, Jay Jacobs cited Bob’s service on the Conservation Commission (HCC), Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Adjustment, where he has quietly and effectively distinguished himself with his thorough preparation and understanding of issues. Fellow HCC member Jean Rosenthal agrees, commending Bob for his wise, practical approach and for his commitment to “get things done.” He has likewise used the same insight and energy, Jay said, to improve and maintain the quality of Russell Reservoir, which Bob refers to as “our Golden Pond.”

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Since he and his wife Carolyn moved to their South Road property 28 years ago, Bob has given much time to the immediate concerns of that water body. “There was no lake association,” he says, “so Carolyn and I went to our neighbors, and there was a lot of interest. We organized Friends of Russell Reservoir (FORR), which holds an annual meeting in the summertime to get an update on the water quality and what’s going on.”

Similarly, Bob has been involved with the Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP), which falls under the jurisdiction of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. As one of the statewide volunteers, he helps with the water sampling program that assists DES in evaluating lake water quality and lake health. In conjunction with that, he works with Health Officer David Belknap to monitor water quality at Russell Reservoir Beach.
Bob recently helped facilitate the transfer of the small triangle of land at the junction of Brown Road and Chesham Road formerly deeded to Robert Hamshaw. He made a presentation to the HCC, which then purchased it from Hamshaw for $1. HCC now holds the land under its governance. With the help of Cathy Buffum and her volunteer gardeners, the triangle will become a blooming, welcoming garden site in the center of Chesham village.

Recipients of this annual award seem always to be caught off guard, perhaps because so many are modest individuals who work for the betterment of their hometown and give little thought to themselves. It seems that such is the case with Bob Sturgis. Spurred by a deep concern for conservation and stewardship, he has made his mark in Harrisville. We congratulate him on this most deserved honor.