Henry (Hank) Marcel was the first Medfield Foundation Volunteer of the Year in 2008, primarily because he was single handedly responsible for doing MEMO’s holiday tree lighting downtown for decades.
Below is that 2008 Medfield Foundation Volunteer Awards proclamation:
MEDFIELD FOUNDATION RECOGNIZES HENRY J. MARCEL AS ITS
MEDFIELD VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
The Medfield Foundation proudly proclaims Henry J. Marcel as its Medfield Volunteer of the Year. Henry Marcel is a large steady man with an even larger and steadier presence, whose contribution to making the Town of Medfield a better place have been both constant and impressive for many, many years. Henry, or Hank, has often worked behind the scenes without fanfare or recognition to deliver highly visible, easily recognizable, and much appreciated things to Medfield for decades. Hank has impacted the Town of Medfield in three main areas. First and foremost, Hank is the one who has lit our downtown with holiday lights at Christmas for decades. Second, Hank is the one who has done all the work to electrify Medfield Day and to do the other grunt work that makes it happen for 27 years. Third, Hank is a long time volunteer Medfield Fire Department firefighter, who is often seen proudly wearing a Medfield Fire Department tee shirt.
Hank has been Medfield’s Mr. Christmas, having organized and presided over stringing Medfield’s Christmas lights for MEMO for over twenty-five years. Observers in the know in recent years are used to seeing Hank out and about the downtown in the cold every year after Thanksgiving stringing the lights in Baxter Park, in front of Lord’s, at the Town House, and in front of the First Parish Meeting House. However, the keen long time observers will know that Hank started out decades earlier by actually shutting down his then electrical contracting business, Medfield Electric, for weeks every Christmas, and paying all his employees to help him to string the Christmas lights on every tree up and down Main Street, trees that are now exist only in memories. Over time, the Christmas lights became focused on Baxter Park. In recent years, Hank has buried electrical conduit under the park to facilitate setting up his displays, and he has been adding a tree in any year he can, to make a larger display. MEMO buys the Christmas lights.
Henry’s smile grows ever wider each year as he watches the faces of the town’s children light up in joy during the tree lighting count down, as the lights on the trees come one a tree at a time, culminating with the lighting of the Christmas tree. What an annual gift from Henry to the residents of Medfield to provide so much joy and happiness to so many children and their families.
The annual Medfield Day event is literally powered by Hank, as he creates and operates several whole electrical services for the events locations, calling on his extended group of electrician friends, such as Larry Kilkenny, to make it all come together and in time. Hank has been one who has worked from before dawn until after dark to make Medfield Day happen: he has lined the booths, coordinated the set-up and break-down, doing whatever tasks needed to be done, and he ran the event several times. When the Medfield Night Fireworks were added, Henry was delighted to work on them, despite making his Medfield Day hours longer, especially when he saw how much pleasure the fireworks gave to so many people.
Hank started on the Medfield Fire Department in 1974 under the direction of Chief Ryan. In one untoward incident in 1986 Hank was working at a car fire, when the vehicle rolled and pinned him between two cars breaking his leg. In 1992 he became the Fire Alarm Superintendent and he still oversees the operation of the town’s fire alarm system. Hank semi-retired as a firefighter in 1998, no longer responding to calls, but he remains a resource for electrical problems at the Department.
The Medfield Foundation is proud to name Henry Marcel its first Medfield Volunteer of the Year.