By Joyce DeWallace, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services recently announced that Matt and Laurie Hogan have been selected to receive the prestigious Harry S. Cutting Jr. Award for their significant contributions to the town. The award was established in 1990 to honor those who go above and beyond in their efforts to make a difference in their community and embody the spirit of Cutting, a noted philanthropist and library trustee for many years.
“He was a wonderful and kind man; a true gentleman, who cared deeply about the town of Shrewsbury and served it in many capacities,” recalled Library Director Bonnie O’Brien.
The Hogans were selected for their focus on the Shrewsbury Public Library project for the past 10 years. Laurie was elected to the Board of Library Trustees in 2006, and along with Library Director Ellen Dolan and hundreds of community volunteers, spearheaded a major drive to give the town a new library. Along with voter campaigns for debt exclusion and fundraising over $1.75 million, the couple achieved their goal of a newly expanded and renovated library this past September.
“We think the library is the heart of our community. People of all ages use the library,” Laurie said. “The library project is the culmination of all our efforts on behalf of the community. All my early years of community experience contributed to my leadership for the new library and its 10-year campaign.”
Her civic involvement began in 1983 when she joined the Shrewsbury Chapter of the League of Women Voters. Her daughter Lisa was 8 and son Paul had started kindergarten.
“I was trying to make the community a better place,” she said. “What I got out of it was meeting great people and learning new skills like organizing candidates’ nights. I worked with similar women who wanted to make the world a better place. As a stay-at-home mom, it helped me grow and gain confidence and served as an outlet for intellectual stimulation.”
In 1984 she was elected to the Housing Authority; in 1988 she worked with the Shrewsbury Media Connection. In 1990, she was one of the founding members of their Advisory Board, and in 1993 she was elected to the Board of Selectmen, serving until 2000. Along with those responsibilities, Laurie worked with the schools, the Girl Scouts, the Garden Club and served as a Town Meeting member for over 30 years.
Matt Hogan began his community service as his children, Mike, Tom, Megan and Mary, started afterschool activities. With other volunteers, he rebuilt the struggling Shrewsbury Hockey League and served as the chair for a number of years leaving the Association in great condition with 13 teams and a State Hockey Championship for Shrewsbury High School in 1999. He also worked with the Little League, has been a Town Meeting member since 1986, was part of the Beal School Space Needs Committee, and taught in the Junior Achievement program. Matt is the CEO of Industrial Packaging, headquartered in Worcester, and recently celebrated his 45th year with the company. He continues to work with the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, and is the chair of ALS ONE, an organization committed to a cure or treatment of ALS by 2020. For the library project, he co-chaired the fundraising committee.
When asked about his commitment to volunteerism, he said, “Part of it is I do believe that we’re very blessed, and when you are blessed, you have a definite responsibility to return to the community and help others. Part of it comes over time as your life settles down, and especially if you have children, you look at the world differently.”
Laughing, he added, “I’m a reverse paranoid – I believe everyone is plotting my success.”