1982 Honoree


Mary “Polly” Doremus, who lives on South Road, has been named this year’s Award recipient.

Mrs. Doremus has been involved in volunteer efforts for 40 years. She laughingly says her volunteer work started before she was ten.

She explains that she missed her eighth birthday celebration due to illness. As a belated party, she was given permission to hold a picnic for the children at the Brooker Memorial. The successful event became an annual one for the next eight years and the future Mrs. William Doremus first realized that volunteering was “a fulfilling way of life.”

Mrs. Doremus spend her youth in Torrington and attended local schools. Upon graduation from high school she went to art school in New York City and after a year of study received a summer job back in Torrington in the advertizing department of the W. W. Mertz department store. The man she was temporarily replacing never returned so her summer position turned into a full time job.

In the early 1940’s, Mrs. Doremus was a part of the district committee which helped with the formation of the state Child and Family Services in Hartford. Several years later, she helped to form the district office in Torrington and she has continued to maintain a tie with the group, at one point serving as the president of the Board of Directors.

She also helped to remodel the present offices on Prospect Street. “I like to keep a finger in the pie, “ she said.

In 1950, Mrs. Doremus and her family moved to Harwinton and her volunteer work became family oriented: scouts, school and church.
She stayed active in volunteer efforts even during the four-year period when her husband’s business took the family to Pittsburgh.

Within ten years of the Doremus families return to Harwinton, the first selectman asked Mrs. Doremus to sere on the newly formed Recreation Commission. The commission was started to correspond with the acquisition and development of a parcel of land off Route 118 into a recreation area. Mrs. Doremus was instrumental in the creation of many of the programs which now exist including the playground and swimming activities.

In 1969 Mrs. Doremus was asked to join the board of the Community Council of Northwest Connecticut. This agency served as a monitor for all of the social service agencies in the area including the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Host Home, Outreach and the Youth Services Bureau.

She has also served on the Public Health Nursing Association and the Friends of T.A. Hungerford Library. Currently, Mrs. Doremus is serving as the Municipal Agent for Aging in Harwinton where her responsibilities include channeling federal funds to the proper places and people.

Harwinton Historical Society Scrapbook
The Republican American Newspaper

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