This is a great personal pleasure for me, as past president, to be in this position with this opportunity to recognize Mary for her accomplishments. Mary has become a valued and trusted friend over the years, and “serving as a colleague of Mary’s on this Board of the Hopkinton Area Land Trust is a special privilege”.
If a person were to take that quote and add unfailing faith and a generous helping of hard work, then I think you might come close to capturing who Mary Pratt is as an individual. Mary has logged countless hours for the Trust and many miles, up and down the steps at the State House working for this this Trust and the town, never for herself.
Mary attained a BS in Chemistry from Regis College in Weston Massachusetts and a Masters in Chemistry from Wellesley College. Her thesis was on radioisotope medical research.. This may have set the stage for her passion for excellence in education especially math and the sciences, the environment, especially water resources. She sought honest and fair government, affordable housing, fair treatment for all town employees, preservation of open spaces and historical sites – these are just some of Mary’s passions. At all times she works not for her own benefit but for the benefit of all.
Mary began her involvement in the Hopkinton Area Land Trust right from the beginning as a founder and member of the Board of Directors in 1995. Her energies were always directed toward the preservation of the town’s rural character the open spaces and environmental education. Mary was passionate about preserving the trees saying that they were the “lungs of the community.” She served on the Board of Directors for over 20 years as one of the longest serving directors. The Board honored her by naming her a Director Emeritus when she left the board because of health reasons.
Mary has served in a number of elected and appointed positions over the last twenty years. In the early nineties she served on the Town Government Study committee; she was later elected to serve on the Charter Commission to culminate the work that the study group began by crafting a Charter that was overwhelmingly supported at the ballot. She was also instrumental in hiring Hopkinton’s first Town Manager and then subsequently wrapping up loose ends by serving on the Bylaw Review Committee to ensure our bylaws were in concert with the new Charter. This is so typical of Mary’s commitment- seeing the job the whole way through, working tirelessly for the community.
For years she has put her time faithfully into the Metropolitan Area Planning council (MAPC) and the Southwest Area Planning Committee (SWAP) on behalf of Hopkinton and other area towns. This work is time and effort that few folks at home see happening in real time, but true to form, Mary attended and participated in the planning that goes on regionally and statewide. Mary also served for five years on the Metrowest Water Supply Protection Committee.
She served on the Organization for Balanced Fiscal Future, the Fire Station Building committee, the Hopkinton Housing Partnership, and serves still on the Open Space Committee. Now in her 8th year as a Selectman, she has had many successes. The reconstruction work at the Whitehall Dam, the purchase & stewardship of the Lake Maspenock Dam, desperately needed traffic improvements at South Street and near the new High School and the passage of CPA are just a few examples of her success for Hopkinton using her connections at the State level to secure funding that made the projects possible for Hopkinton.
Her concurrent formal elected and appointed time in service incredibly adds up to over 50 years of service to Hopkinton; that doesn’t count her informal volunteer participation in the Hopkinton Area Land Trust and other activities. To say Mary has been a dedicated public servant and a passionate conservationist seems an embarrassing understatement.
She has had a lot of successes and her share of frustrations over the years. Mary got involved at this level to pursue meaningful and constructive improvements in the functionality of government beginning with the Board of Selectmen. She stays involved to better her town and advocate at the State level for things Hopkinton needs. Government is better in Hopkinton today; in large measure we have Mary to thank for that.
Mary has an old fashioned sensibility in her work. She educates herself on the issues and potential solutions, she pursues innovative ideas, and then she gets to work leading be example. She serves with honesty, integrity and purpose. Everyone in this town knew who to call if they needed something, folks in Hopkinton call Mary. She cares, she plays it straight and she works hard to solve the issues.
Mary, we are indebted to you for all you have done for the Trust and Hopkinton. “People of significance don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen, they go out and happen to things” -author unknown. Thank you so much for going out there and making things happen for the Hopkinton Area Land Trust.