Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce Names Cathy Furze Citizen of the Year
Cathy Furze, longtime owner of Country Bridals and a town volunteer, has been named the 2021 Citizen of the Year by the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce.
Each year, the chamber nominates a prominent citizen, business, and nonprofit organization to be recognized for their contributions to the Jaffrey community. This year, Furze was named Citizen of the Year, along with Threads of Hope, a charity clothing resale store, named Nonprofit of the Year, and Cournoyer Funeral Home as Business of the Year.
“It surprised me,” Furze said Thursday. “I guess the things I do in and for the community aren’t done for recognition – they’re done to improve the community. So it’s quite humiliating.
Furze recently retired from her long tenure at the helm of Country Bridals on Jaffrey’s High Street, handing the business over to her daughter, who had worked with her for years. She spoke to the Ledger-Transcript by phone while en route to Louisiana to help rebuild homes destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Ida.
Volunteering isn’t new to Furze, who has been on a long list of city committees and organized events for years.
“The more involved you are, the more family-friendly the city becomes and the more you care about how you can improve it,” Furze said. “Volunteering is something that the community greatly needs.
Furze has volunteered with women of faith groups and as a leader for Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. She has lectured at Conant High School on business ownership and mentored students, recently served on the city’s broadband committee, and helped plan Conant High School’s 2020 graduation when the COVID-19 restrictions moved the ceremony to Silver Ranch Airpark.
Additionally, she has been a longtime organizer of the annual fireworks festival, hosted fundraisers such as the Ron Despres Golf Tournament and Monadnock Live Arts Auction, and hosted a bridal fair. regional for many years. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce.
Furze said she encourages young people to get involved in their local community.
“It’s important for young people to get involved in something outside of themselves and see how they can use their minds and hands to help others around them,” Furze said. “I want to thank the chamber and the community for allowing me to work with and for them.”
The recipient of the 2021 Nonprofit Organization of the Year is Threads of Hope, a resale clothing store in Monadnock Plaza.
Threads of Hope is sponsored by Hope Fellowship Church in Jaffrey as one of its ministries. Most store items are donated by church members or Jaffrey residents, and staff are volunteers, allowing store items to be sold primarily for $1.
Store manager Ruth Ann Moody said the store started 10 years ago selling clothes specifically for mothers and young children, but found the need was much greater. Today, she sells clothing for men, women and children of all ages.
Although it is sponsored by the church, anyone can come to the store to shop, and it is run by volunteers from the church and the wider community.
“It’s a very community-oriented ministry,” Moody said.
Last year the store began to receive so many donations that it outgrew its location in Monadnock Square and opened a new location in the same square but with a larger and more display area. of storage space.
“We couldn’t do this without the community behind us,” Moody said. “And a lot of people like to donate to us, knowing it will stay in the community and help their neighbors.”
Moody said Threads of Hope was honored to receive the award.
“It’s a blessing to know that what we’re doing for the community is truly seen as a benefit, and to know that the community appreciates us being here and what we’re doing,” Moody said.
Mike Shea, who nominated the store, said in his nomination letter, “An often overlooked aspect of the low-cost model is that it allows shoppers to maintain their dignity. Instead of receiving direct gifts, shoppers pay modest prices for the items they choose, and everyone feels good about the transaction.
Cournoyer Funeral Home in Jaffrey, the oldest family home in the Monadnock area, was named Business of the Year.
“The Cournoyers have always invested well in their community through their work in various community organizations, working with other local businesses as well as supporting various charities, first responders, schools and sports groups,” said resident Alison. Bergeron in his appointment letter. .
Led by fourth-generation owner Mark Cournoyer and Cournoyer’s son Garrett, already involved in the business, Mark said the business and his family have deep roots in Jaffrey.
“You’re here to earn a living, but also to really help and support each other, especially in a difficult time,” he said. “That’s where we try to be here and make sure families get the personal care they deserve.”
Mark and Garrett Cournoyer volunteer in the community and support various organizations through the business, Mark said. The funeral home offered support for fire and police department equipment funds in surrounding communities, sponsored softball teams, and provided support to local pantries and the Monadnock Humane Society, which formed the funeral home’s therapy dog, Ziva.
“We’re invested in our small towns here,” Mark said. “Everything goes back to our homes and our communities.”
Mark said he was honored by this recognition.
“We don’t do this to be recognized in any way, so to have something like this, or even to be considered for it, is humbling. It was a nice surprise. You don’t do anything like that. to be recognized,” he said.
All recipients will be honored at the virtual annual meeting on Wednesday, February 23 at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in attending should contact the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce at 603-532-4549 or [email protected]
Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or [email protected] She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.