Kiwanis to posthumously honor Bill Hotaling during May rsquo s Volunteer Day

NEW SCOTLAND –– It’s the morning after some past Voorheesville Memorial Day parade and celebration. It’s just after 6 a.m. and, despite being up late the night before, Bill Hotaling, along with the mayor and trustees, is picking up garbage along Main Street.

Though Hotaling died more than a year earlier, a precedent he set of elected officials volunteering to clean up for the holiday event still continues, said Voorheesville Mayor Robert Conway.

“Every year at the Memorial Day parade, Bill had started this tradition where the mayor and trustees would police the celebration at the firehouse, where they hold the party. We’d keep the area clean and the next morning we’d get up early to walk down the parade route and clean up trash from the day before,” said Conway.

“Bill would say, ‘I don’t want people waking up in the morning and seeing the trash all over the place and having a negative view of the parade, or the community.’ That’s just the kind of person he was. He just went out there to do something about it. He got us to go out there with him and we’re still going out there,” added the mayor.

The New Scotland Kiwanis Club announced this month it would honor Hotaling posthumously as the 2012 Volunteer of the Year. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 12, the club along with the Town of New Scotland will sponsor the 13th annual Volunteer Day at the town hall.

The day involves the contributions of about 100 community volunteers who aid seniors and the disabled with a range of chores including yard and housework. The group has also taken on some environmental projects this year, in the wake of tropical storms Irene and Lee, such as helping to clear out debris from the Vly and Onesquethaw creeks, explained Kiwanis former president, Janna Shillinglaw.

The group is accepting applications from seniors and volunteers. To volunteer or to be considered for aid contact Shillinglaw, or Volunteer Committee Member Lance Moore, at 765-5581 or 765-4969.

Moore said local schools, scouting groups, the village of Voorheesville, and the town of New Scotland consistently donated their time and materials to making the day a success. “They and a core of volunteers who keep coming back year after year,” he said. Last year, the late Robert Shedd, another selfless contributor to the community, was honored as the Volunteer of the Year.

“The reason why we want to honor a Volunteer of the Year is to help people in our town identify with somebody who exemplifies community volunteerism, said Shillinglaw. When you see a name like Bill Hotaling, people automatically associate it with how much he gave back.”

“He always had a real sense of volunteerism; he was always willing to help over the years,” said Moore.

“We try each year to honor somebody or some people who give to the community selflessly and this is a fitting tribute to Mr. Hotaling. His death is a tragic loss to the community. There are a lot of unsung heroes, they just do it because it’s right, like Bill,” said Moore.

Hotaling was well known in the Voorheesville community where he was born and raised. He was a volunteer of the Voorheesville Fire Department for 40 years and was fire chief during his service. He was a three-term trustee on the village board and served as deputy mayor. Hotaling also served as the village’s superintendent of public works for 29 years, following in the footsteps of his father who held the post.

In a letter, Hotaling wrote of his father and his childhood experiences; “My father, George Hotaling was a strict man by today’s standards. He made sure we helped our neighbors as well as the rest of the family. One of my jobs was to shovel sidewalks of two of the neighbors. He made it clear that I was not to expect pay.”

“You could always find Bill behind the scenes. He was involved in so many small things on so many levels,” concluded Mayor Conway, “Lending a hand to a neighbor was just a part of him, his routine.”

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