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Nesselbush honored as Pawtucket Hall of Fame’s 1st ‘Person of the Year’


STATE HOUSE – Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush’s work on the same-sex marriage law has snagged her the honorable title of “Pawtucket Person of the Year” from the Pawtucket Hall of Fame Committee, which celebrated her legislative achievements at its induction ceremony on Oct. 28, 2014.

“This really is an incredible honor,” said Senator Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence). “I'm humbled to be alongside this year’s inductees – an all-female list of honorees, no less. The passage of the marriage equality bill was historic for Rhode Island and such an important moment in my life; I’m thrilled to be able to celebrate this milestone with the people of Pawtucket. I'm proud to serve the LGBTQ community, proud to serve my Pawtucket community and proud to serve our state. Last Tuesday night's celebration was a testament to all of that.”

This is the first time the Pawtucket Hall of Fame Committee has honored someone as “Pawtucket Person of the Year.”  Ken McGill, committee chairman, said the committee created the new category after the city’s Rotary Club ceased the tradition. Each individual earning this title is nominated by a committee member and must receive 75 percent of the vote from the full 15-member committee, similar to the process for Hall of Fame inductees.

“The same-sex marriage bill is an outstanding achievement, and we are very excited to have Donna as our first Pawtucket Person of the Year,” McGill said. “Her legislation regarding same-sex marriage is something she should be extremely proud of, and the Hall of Fame is proud of her, too.”

The committee held the induction ceremony at LeFoyer in Pawtucket. In the induction ceremony pamphlet distributed to honorees and guests, the committee noted: “Donna is getting this award tonight because she saw an injustice. She saw a segment of the population whose civil rights, whose basic human rights, were being denied and she acted to change it. Notwithstanding the controversial nature of the issue and the potential political fallout, Donna, with the courage of her convictions and the patient consideration of the feelings of others, helped to end what many would describe as a systemic form of discrimination inflicted upon a segment of the population.”

Additionally, the committee inducted the following women into the city’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday night:

•         Joan Crawley, retired director of the Leon Mathieu Senior Center;

•         Miriam Plitt, former executive director of the Arts Council of Pawtucket and current member of the Elizabeth Johnson Pawtucket History Research Center Board of Directors;

•         The late Kathleen Magill, the first woman to serve on the Pawtucket City Council; and

•         The late Elizabeth Higginson Weeden (1822-1895), a descendent of the wealthy Draper family who established the Elizabeth Higginson Weeden Home for Indigent and Infirm Females, which provided care for impoverished women.

The Hall of Fame was created in 1986 in commemoration of Pawtucket’s 100th anniversary. It was established to honor Pawtucket residents who made unique and profound contributions to the community.


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