WALL OF HONOR AT LEONARD PARK
Wall of Honor Application Instructions
Wall of Honor Application
Wall of Honor Signature Page
Guidance for Applicants
The Leonard Park Committee is receiving applications for the Wall of Honor. Please know that having one's name on the Memorial Wall is the greatest honor that the Village can bestow on a resident. The limited size and importance of the wall requires that the most exacting requirements must be met for the honor.
Therefore, the Leonard Park Committee sets forth examples of the contributions and conducts of persons who have been so honored, as a guide for future applicants. This is additional to the requirements set forth on the application form. It is hoped that this will demonstrate the enormous intellectual and physical contributions made by the persons who have been honored to date.
This is published both for guidance and also to reduce the number of applications that will inevitably be rejected, so as to prevent any embarrassment that may arise from rejected applications.
These examples are intended to demonstrate that committee membership, even the chairing of committees, is not enough for the honor. The contributions must have been transformative to the Village and its residents.
It should also be remembered that the honor will generally not be granted when a particular action or project was conducted by a group of people, and success was achieved by many. An example would be the conduct of the Village 2019 Comprehensive Plan, where several residents devoted many hours, but the result came from a group effort.
No. 1 - Stanley Bernstein, The First Honoree:
Stanley served for several years on the Conservation Advisory Council. During those years he not only sat on the CAC, but he regularly attended the Planning Board meetings every two weeks to report its activities back to the CAC. From time to time he made presentations to the Planning Board to advise against development that he and the CAC considered unsuitable.
He was appointed to the Planning Board some years before his death. During that time, he, like other Board Members, met every two weeks to consider applications for development. This involves that regular study of volumes of technical application material, and attendance for several hours at highly technical and disciplined meetings every two weeks.
Stanley influences the Board through his voluble participation, constantly reminding the Board of the need to preserve steep slopes, green properties, and suitable landscaping for development projects.
Additionally, he mentored Mount Kisco residents by walking them through the Marsh Sanctuary, of which he was President for several years, and also through the Westmoreland Sanctuary and Botanical Gardens.
His presence was inspiring, and his influence was profound.
No. 2 - William (Bill) Stewart
Bill was everywhere in the Village as a volunteer for close on 50 years. He was a member of the Independent Fire House for all this time, but this was not taken into account for his honoring on the Wall, because "compensated service" is not eligible, and Fire Department and Ambulance Corps volunteers have certain benefits paid for by the Village.
But Bill never stopped. For over 50 years he nurtured and led the Fife and Drum Corps. He served the Rotary Club physically at virtually every event they had, from the Little League Day food service to the Ronald MacDonald House initiative, to the weekly lunches at which he often served at the reception desk, and he always suggested charitable activities to the Club and supported them with his own physical activities. He led the annual winter Rotary Coat Drives in which he personally collected the coats and drive them to the Community Center. He served the Mount Kisco Memorial Day Committee as the Parade organizer for many years and was awarded the title of Grand Marshal. He served on the Village Landmark Commission and physically working on the reservation of records with the Historically Society. He served the St. Francis Church community in several ways. Bill's volunteerism was physically present virtually every week for decades.
No 3. - Fernand "Bud" Jobin
Bud was beloved by generations of boys who grew up in Mount Kisco. He initiated, organized, led and coached the Mount Kisco boys' Maroons (football) for 38 years. His applicants claimed that he not only coaches them, but he motivated them towards high morals and good behavior. His influence on more than 1,000 boys is said to have been profound.
No 4. - James (Jim) Gmelin
Jim was highly active for over 15 years, both intellectually and physically. He served on the Conservation Advisory Council, and during this time was instrumental in constructing the Village's Natural Resource Inventory, now a primary resource to the Village and the Planning Board. To accomplish this, he initiated this with the Village Board, found an environmentalist to write the inventory, and led several walks through every part of the Village and it's green spaces, leading the environmentalist, the Directors of Westmoreland Sanctuary, and many Mount Kisco residents. The NRI has been recognized in New York State as exemplary.
He was responsible for the planting of countless trees in the Village, by seeking advice from environmental organizations, sourcing the trees, and personally supervising their placement.
He served for several years on the Tree Preservation Board, first as a member, then as chairman. During these years he made countless visits to the residences of applicants asking for tree removal. In many cases he granted permission, and in many cases he did not, often calling for the services of a professional arborist.
He relentlessly advocated "no-mow" zones along Village streams and ponds, putting up environmentally signs himself, and constantly talking with the village manager to have the Highway Department learn the correct way to mow in these areas.
Jim has been a member of the Byram Lake Committee for several years, more recently serving as its chairman. He monitors the annual reports from the Village consultants, and advocated lake reservation measures to the Village board. He advocated for the professional sampling of fish populations in the lake, and encouraged the Village Board to repopulate the lake with appropriate young fish. Since that time the lake has returned to what the consultants call "generally stable" and "one stage below a most pristine...water body". Jim bears a large part of the responsibility for this.
He was an avid supported of the Marsh Sanctuary Community Vegetable Gardens, physically assisting every Spring in the preparations of the property, despite his own vulnerable shoulder and hip.
Jim was one of the initiators of the Village Food Scrap Recycling program, visiting the Scarsdale project on two occasions, advocating for the project with the Village Board, and on several occasions physically attending to promotional tables reaching out to the community outside of grocery stores and supermarkets.
He was briefly a member of the Marsh Sanctuary Board, and during that time he personally plotted invasive species along several major trails using GPS technology, for the planned removal of those plants.
He served as a docent at the New York Botanical Gardens, taking visitors on tours through the Forest Section on a regular basis, and cataloging the progress of certain trees through their seasonal cycles. White not part of his direct contribution to Mount Kisco, this activity increased the knowledge of trees and forestry experience that he brought to the Village.
As a member of the Historical Society, he was one of the Trail Team members who physically prepared the historic trails that run through Mount Kisco, and personally worked regularly with the team that maintained and cleaned up the trails. This was done on a regular basis over several years.
He made presentations to the Village Board fairly regularly to encourage the planting and nurturing of trees in the Village. He is highly respected and his influence was profound.
No 5. - Melvin (Mel) Berger
Known as a tireless community servant who helped countless citizens battling alcoholism, drug addiction, and homelessness.
As a local pharmacist, he saw first-hand the negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse in his community and founded the Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council. Consequently, he helped pioneer the successful “Drug Court” to divert young drug and alcohol offenders away from prison and into recovery programs. Later, he would collaborate with local places of worship to create the “Emergency Shelter Partnership” to provide winter shelter to the area’s growing homeless population, many of whom were laborers from Central America who couldn’t find work in the colder months.
Mel was so loved and respected in the community that his children often joked that he was the unofficial “Mayor” of Mt. Kisco.