By Barrett Seaman—
Each spring for more than 40 years, Volunteer New York, the nonprofit organization that supplies volunteers to more than 300 other nonprofits throughout the metropolitan region, honors the best of them with its “Volunteer Spirit Awards.” Nominations are solicited for six categories and reviewed by a panel of nine judges.
This year’s winners in the “Going Green” Category, honoring those “who work to protect and beautify our environment and natural surroundings,” are Dean Gallea and Rachel Tieger, co-chairs of TEAC, the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council. They, along with winners in the other five categories, will be celebrated at a gala breakfast on May 5th at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown.
The Going Green category is funded by Con Ed, though the utility company has no say in choosing the winners. Nominations are solicited in the year prior and follow a strict set of guidelines. This year, there were more than 40 nominations for the six categories. According to Matt Soper, Director of Development for Volunteer New York, Gallea and Tieger “were the clear winners in the Going Green Category.”
“Dean and Rachel are some busy people,” commented Soper.
Indeed they are. Gallea, a Tarrytown resident for more than 30 years, spent 42 years as a test engineer and technology reporter with Consumer Reports. Since his retirement, he has done volunteer work for such local organizations as the Music Hall, Scenic Hudson’s Trails Committee, Sustainable Westchester, Jazz Forum Arts, the Warner Library, the Neighborhood House and Riverkeeper—all in addition to his work for TEAC. He is also on the Board of the Hudson Valley News Foundation, the not-for-profit parent of The Hudson Independent, which regularly runs items from TEAC’s monthly newsletter.
A native of Dutchess County, Rachel Tieger moved to Tarrytown in 2006 and has been engaged in community activities ever since. She is a founding member of the board of the TaSH Farmers Market and has been involved in TEAC since 2012, starting out as a volunteer before being appointed co-chair in 2014. While her avocation is the environment, her vocation has been in the wine industry, where she has worked for 25 years.
What made the TEAC co-chairs stand out, said Soper, was their formula for attracting community involvement. “We give people something first, (free seeds for a pollinator pathway garden, for example),” Soper paraphrased Dean Gallea as saying. “Second, we teach them; then we ask them to join us last.”
Tickets to the May 5th awards event may be purchased at https://www.volunteernewyork.org/awards.Read or leave a comment on this story...