Saluted as models for future generations, four New Hampshire men were honored Monday for outstanding achievements that made a difference in the state's quality of life.
In the fields of science and technology, philanthropy, business and law, the four honorees are the first to receive the Granite State Legacy Awards in what is intended to be an annual tradition of recognizing those who made significant contributions over an extended period to their profession, community and state.
“The idea is to publicly recognize some of these truly remarkable people who have done so much to improve life in New Hampshire,” New Hampshire Union Leader President and Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid said. The awards are presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader and sponsored by Centrix Bank.
Inaugural honorees are retired New Hampshire Charitable Fund president and chief executive officer Lewis Feldstein; inventor and owner of DEKA Research and Development Corp. Dean Kamen; McLane, Graf, Raulerson and Middleton law firm President Jack Middleton; and Michael Salter, whose work on behalf of Easter Seals and Veterans Count has helped thousands of veterans and their families.
Receiving the awards in front of more than 55 guests at Sheehan, Phinney Bass & Green law firm in Manchester, honorees were grateful and humbled to be honored.
“I got a chance to do this in this state because this state gave me a chance,” Feldstein said of his 24 years with the NH Charitable Foundation.
The former civil rights activist who also worked in media and politics before coming to New Hampshire earlier noted “how cool” it was “for a guy from New York to be a New Hampshire legacy.”
“I'm very, very pleased and immensely satisfied and honored by this,” he told the gathering.
Inventor and innovator Kamen was unable to attend the awards ceremony because he was promoting his water filtration device before the “G20” summit of global business leaders in Mexico.
Accepting the award on his behalf, DEKA Vice President Bob Tuttle said Kamen is most proud of the FIRST Robotics Competition he started more than 20 years ago to inspire youth to pursue careers in science and technology.
Tuttle recounted giving Kamen his first tour of New Hampshire in 1978. Shortly after, Kamen moved his company here from Long Island.
“He has never regretted that move. He is really, really proud of New Hampshire,” Tuttle added.
In his half-century of practicing law, Middleton has led one of the state's most prominent law firms, served as presidents of the state and New England bar associations and represented victims of domestic violence as a volunteer attorney with the Domestic Violence Emergency Project, known as DOVE.
Middleton also is credited with helping make New Hampshire the second state in the country to adopt a system in which interest on client funds temporarily held by attorneys is used to fund legal services for the poor.
“I get credit for doing the things that I enjoy doing and want to thank my firm for letting me do these things,” Middleton told the group, which included several current and former associates and partners, among them former law partner and now state Supreme Court Justice Carol Ann Conboy.
Salter said he is honored by the “great tribute” paid not just him, but the program that prevents veterans and their families “from falling between the cracks.”
He described the program as a “collaborative effort” involving Easter Seals NH, the New Hampshire National Guard, the state and the private sector. After five years of fundraising, the program distributed $1.1 million to veterans and their families in need of emergency services.
“I don't think this award is about me. This award is for a program and a concept that I'm so proud of,” Salter said.
Anyone who would like to nominate a candidate for the 2013 Granite State Legacy Awards should contact Teresa Robinson at 206-7833 or email@example.com.
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Kathryn Marchocki may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.