When Kathy Anderson and her late husband Walt arrived in Woodstock almost 50 years ago, they had a choice — they could live quietly within our community, raise their children and let Woodstock move on without them. Or, they could dive head first into their new hometown and try to make a difference. Fortunately, for Woodstock, they chose the latter. It was that choice that led to last Saturday evening and the announcement by Supervisor Bill McKenna that Kathy and Walt had been chosen to receive the 2017 Alf Evers Award for their contributions to Woodstock over the course of not just years, but decades.
Kathy and Walt spent their lives as partners — partners in marriage, in parenting their two children Jeff and Tim and, despite the demands of their professional lives, creating the time to give back to our community. And, though we lost one half of that partnership last year, their combined efforts alone demonstrated their love for their adopted hometown. Together, for example, they were recognized for their commitment to Woodstock’s children when Woodstock’s PTA honored them with their prestigious Jenkins Award. There were countless days volunteering for Meals on Wheels while also lending their efforts over the years to the very day last Saturday celebrated. In short, they were longstanding volunteers for Volunteers Day.
For Kathy, it was also years of service to the Woodstock Recreation Committee while managing the time to be a den mother to the Woodstock Cub Scouts. In addition to serving as its secretary, she is also the longest serving member of the Historical Society of Woodstock Board of Directors. She was a part of those who helped Woodstock celebrate its Bicentennial in 1987 while also applying her quilting talents to the Woodstock Bicentennial Quilt Project. Noted for baking skills, Kathy is consistently one of the first to volunteer (or to be asked) for any bake sale or event that supports a good cause — all, while serving for a decade as Town Clerk, secretary to three Woodstock Supervisors and a longstanding member of the Woodstock Republican Committee.
For Walt, it was working with the Woodstock Little League and the local Boy Scouts. He was a member Onteora Lions Club and the good work they and other Woodstock service clubs once did in our town. In addition, he also served as a volunteer for the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase and as a member of the Woodstock Republican Committee. Equally important — perhaps even more so — Walt was one of those rare people who would be there if you needed a hand with a project or help working on your home. With Walt, you didn’t need to ask.
In the emotional ceremony that followed the announcement of the award, flanked by her two sons (Tim, who had kept the secret and Jeff who drove from Minnesota to be there), Kathy echoed the feelings of many in attendance wishing only that Walt could have been there as well.
Kathy and Walt Anderson joined a group of Woodstockers that have received the Alf Evers Award, including: Andre Neher, Duncan Wilson, the Mac Clary family, Kathy Longyear, Mescal Hornbeck, Ralph Goneau, Edith Wright, Kiki Randolph, Sara Mulligan, Michael Densen, Susan Goldman and Jim Hanson.
Each year, the Alf Evers Award is presented to that individual or individuals who have, over the course of a lifetime, generously given back to our community.