Steppin' Up honors unsung heroes in ROCs
Every two years ROC-NH presents Above & Beyond awards to a handful of special people who make co-op living possible and enjoyable.
But two years is a long time to wait. Especially when there are so many people doing so many admirable things in New Hampshire's resident-owned manufactured-home (sometimes called mobile home) communities (ROCs).
So we launched an article, Steppin’ Up, in our Spring 2013 edition of The Cooperator newsletter. Steppin' Up will be a regular feature that acknowledges your neighbors and friends within ROCs who take care of their neighbors and their neighborhoods, and who make you proud to say: “We own it.”
Steppin' Up doesn't replace Above and Beyond, but it is a way of us to recognize more of you more often.
We need your help. Please let us know who the people are who make your co-op a special place to live, and why. And don’t be surprised if it’s you we’re calling.
John Regal and Bob Belanger
Centennial Estates Cooperative
Centennial Estates Cooperative “has the potential to be one of the best co-ops in the area,” said interim Board President John Regal of the Derry resident-owned community. John, active in the neighborhood long before members bought it in 2012, enjoys helping fellow resident and Operations Director Bob Belanger maintain and repair the park.
But when the co-op had spent nearly $90,000 locating and repairing water issues, John and Bob decided enough was enough and that more needed to be done to ascertain the park’s condition.
The duo worked tirelessly with the Board of Directors, town officials, their water operator, the Dept. of Environmental Services (DES), and ROC-NH to decide whether to repair or replace Centennial Estates’ water system. With a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, a low-interest loan from DES, and savings, the co-op managed to secure funds for a completely new water system.
John beams with excitement when remarking upon how he and his neighbors won’t have to worry about their water anymore. “I've lived here almost 30 years and I knew this could be a really nice place,” he said. “This is me fulfilling a dream.”
Oak Hill Acres Cooperative
Oak Hill Acres credits vice president Vito Adragna with its financial turn-around. When Vito moved to the Hinsdale co-op, he ran for a board position with the goal of addressing community needs. Using his management background, he ran the resident-owned community like a business. Under Vito’s leadership, the co-op has flipped its finances, from having more expenses than income to having surplus income. He sought creative ways to boost the co-op’s income and generated $16,000 logging wood. And five of 13 vacant homes were filled and two homes were brought into the park in less than a year, creating additional revenue.
Vito has also been instrumental in non-financial improvements; members are more relaxed. “Vito has done a lot for this park, said Director of Operations, Lisa Johnson. “He is a great leader. He gets people to volunteer by saying, ‘Hey, help me out.’ Because he does so much for the co-op, members want to help him.”
Forest Park Tenants Association Cooperative
Marge Andrews is always thinking of others. As Operations Director for Forest Park Co-op in Jaffrey, she is the "go to" person for everything from maintenance issues to closings on home purchases. When neighbors need a hand, Marge is right there to pitch in. She shovels snow, digs ditches, collects and wraps community raffle prizes, and is “... willing to do anything for anybody,” President Scott Boudreau said.
Perhaps the most remarkable things about Marge are her humble attitude and her concern for others. Despite all she does around the community, Marge makes a point each year at annual meetings to recognize the other people who volunteer for the co-op. She hands out appreciation certificates to other board members and presents a special award for the “Volunteer of the Year.”
“I just try to do my best,” she says.
Fisherville Cooperative #82
When Teresa's resident-owned community found itself overcome with major financial obstacles, she stepped in as point person to sort through the issues. After getting a better understanding of the situation and the challenges the current board of directors was facing, she decided to accept the nomination for president when the former president resigned. Teresa then asked community members to concentrate on moving forward and every resident, including past board members, joined the conversation about how to put the co-op's fianances in order.
The positive tone Teresa set led her community to financial health. People also smile, shake hands and interact more.
“During this process we all realized it’s not the board against the members; we’re all in the same boat. We learned how to participate, have transparency and trust each other,” she says.
Heron Point Estates Cooperative
Heron Point Estates Cooperative member Audra Anderson wears many hats in her community. She is secretary of the Board of Directors and sits on Heron Point Estates’s Membership and Social committees. Audra also served on the committee that established rules for the newly formed cooperative.
Heron Point Estates has a lot of elderly residents. Aware of their need for help, Audra created the Random Acts of Kindness Committee. Committee members — Audra is the chair — “set a good example,” she says, by mowing lawns, taking neighbors to medical appointments, cooking meals, and encouraging others to do the same.
Tom Cloutier and
Fisherville 107 Cooperative
Fisherville 107 Cooperative maintenance and operation team members Don Sieradski and Tom Cloutier became actively involved in the co-op about five years ago when negative news about their community hit the local newspaper. An article called the park an eyesore and Tom was immediately motivated to clean it up.
Together, the long-time friends help fellow residents with chores, dump runs, snow removal, raking and yard work. Many of their elderly neighbors sleep better knowing the dynamic duo are “helpful in any way possible," says treasurer Brenda Norton. "We are so lucky to have them in our community.”
Exeter River MHP Cooperative
Cathy became intimately involved with Exeter River MHP Cooperative after the vice president asked her to get involved. Now she chairs the Exeter co-op's Web site committee, serves on the social committee, organizes community yard sales, attends a bi-weekly coffee hour at the office, and helps out any way she can.
“I love getting involved and meeting new people in the co-op. It keeps me busy and it keeps me informed.” she says.
Bunker Lane Condominium Association
Bunker Lane Condominium Association secretary Tammy McKenna helped fellow residents to grow beyond “co-op” and “condo” labels when the unique Madbury community's shared septic system was in need of repair. Tammy acted as a liaison between the two groups and helped them raise the matched funds neccesary to complete the project.
“We all work together,” Tammy says of her united community, “We're all in it together.” she says.
Soda Brook Cooperative
Since moving into Soda Brook in Northfield in 2006, Andy has made himself an important fixture in the community. He refers to his co-op neighbors as “extended family,” with whom he and his wife Kat frequently stop and chat as they push their grandson in a stroller around the community.
“Communication is paramount. This is how we get to know our neighbors,” he says.
ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider. ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.