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Voter reliability honored in Wayne

Seated from the left are William J. Bergstresser of Honesdale, Joanne Stephens of Pleasant Mount, James A. Landers of Honesdale, Wilbur Black of Lake Ariel and Dorothy M. Wilcox of Honesdale. Standing from the left are representatives of PA state representative Frank Farina and PA Senator Lisa Baker; county commissioners Wendell Kay, Brian Smith and Jonathan Fritz; and Wayne County Elections Director Cindy Furman.
TRR photo by David Hulse

By David Hulse
August 28, 2013

The best business of the day at the August 22 meeting of the Wayne County Commissioners came after the conclusion of the their regular agenda.

Five senior Wayne County voters—William J. Bergstresser of Honesdale, Joanne Stephens of Pleasant Mount, James A. Landers of Honesdale, Wilbur Black of Lake Ariel and Dorothy M. Wilcox of Honesdale—were inducted into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame.

The five were honored because each of them has, without fail, voted in every general election over the past 50 years.

Each of them received a citation signed by Governor Corbett and Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele.

There were also other congratulations from Harrisburg. State Senator Lisa Baker and Lake Ariel’s House Representative Frank Farina sent spokespersons with messages of congratulations. Farina also sent a House resolution of recognition for Black, his constituent.

Wayne County Director of Elections Cindy Furman said the five came from a long list of voters with longevity, many of whom had missed only one election over the half-century.

The day was also James Landers’ 49th wedding anniversary. Landers, who said he had voted each year at the same polling place, said he would be back in a couple years as his wife was also approaching 50 years of voting consistency.

Commissioners’ chair Brian Smith said that “to be among people who understand the importance of and exercise the franchise with dedication is an honor.

“My wish is that all those who read about this will take your example and stay involved,” Smith said.

Commissioner Jonathan Fritz had a connection with the group, noting that he had officiated at the wedding of one of their sons’ weddings. He said the values of people like them “further galvanizes my pride in the wonderful area that Wayne County is.”

Wendell Kay said the program is inspiring for the commissioners. Kay also chairs the county election board and works with Cindy Furman. He recalled that Furman reminded him five or six years ago that Wayne had not then done voter recognition in some years. So four years ago, “we had about 100 people at the first one and resolved to do it every year.”

“It’s easy to become jaded, let the weather, illness… or the cat in the tree divert us from voting, but you fulfilled your obligations and didn’t use an excuse,” Kay said.

In other business at Thursday’s brief meeting, the commissioners approved a promotion of Meaghan Estes at Children and Youth Services to Casework 2, and of Adam Jennings to sergeant at the county corrections facility.