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ABOUT TOWN: More on the Children's Field Day Cancellation

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e-mail to pmpco@aol.com.

MORE ON THE CHILDREN'S FIELD DAY CANCELLATION: While the other like the carnival, concert, fireworks and parade will be taking place, the popular children's field day (kids day) - with numerous games, contests and prizes - because there was a shortage of volunteers to help organize it.

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Regarding the cancellation of the Children's Field Day, Stoughton Firefighter/EMT Peter Denneno wrote About Town on Saturday afternoon, June 30:

"I saw there was no children's day for the fourth this year. I saw the reason was lack of help. This in my opinion is a real disappointment and should never have happened," Denneno said. "As you may know, for years dating back the fire department brought the prizes, and assisted the organizers with children's day."

He continued, "We worked well with the persons who ran the fourth prior to and I took the event from Victor Melendy and worked with Bob with never a hitch, and we enjoyed doing it. This would have continued, but we were told we were not needed any further by Mr. Mokrisky when he took over, and for that reason only, our participation stopped. I would gladly help with children's day again - as I had for 14 years and Jay McNamara did for a while after I could not, with the help of the members of the Stoughton Fire Department. We always had great fun and were glad to see the kids receive a prize of their choice. I guess as long as Mr. Mokrisky does not want us involved, we can't do anything about it."  

Joseph Mokrisky, Chairman of the Stoughton Community Events Committee, on Tuesday morning, told About Town, "As you are well aware, I do not take to blogs or respond to rumors and stories. In this case, I cannot sit on the side lines and let Peter Denneno take another swipe at the town."

Mokrisky continued, "Like the time when the town was called 'Unpatriotic' by Mr. Denneno and others, he tells the story to fit his agenda. Mr. Denneno is correct that for many years the members of the Stoughton Fire Department worked very hard with Bob Parsons and raised all the money for the prizes that kids were given at the Kids Day event.

"Mr. Denneno stated to me that the union did not have the resources to raise the money any longer and that they would need half of the approximate $2,000 that was needed to purchase the prizes. In an effort to keep the Fire Dept. involved, the committee agreed and paid approximately $1,000.00 toward the purchase of the toys. This can be verified because the check was written from the Fourth of July budget maintained by Town Hall. The second year Peter approached me and said if the Fire Dept. was to be involved, they would need the Events Committee to purchase all the toys and they would give them out. The Events Committee voted to handle distribution of the toys."

Mokrisky added, "It is obvious that Mr. Denneno wants to make this personal, which once again has no place. It should be noted that the only involvement by the Stoughton Fire Dept. in any event hosted by the Stoughton Events Committee have resulted in them being paid for their time by the taxpayers, unlike the Stoughton Police Dept. who volunteer their time and play a major role in the Haunted Hayride. The Stoughton Public Works Dept., who volunteer their time to handle all the logistics in setting up, breaking down and cleaning up after each event and Town Hall employees that work at every event as well as Selectmen and a past Town Manager.

"I'll take this opportunity to thank the volunteers who give of themselves to make these events possible. If Mr. Denneno and his peers want to run the Kid's Day next year, I will hand them the $5,000 dollar budget and let's see what they can do. It's up to you Peter, do you want to host the event next year? I await your reply."  

Chairman of the 4th of July Concert and Fireworks Kevin Stetson said, "I don't have kids in this town. I've done six parades and five fireworks. It's a thankless job. I don't do it for the thanks, but I really don't appreciate all the negative comments. Parents should step up to the plate."

Stetson continued, "If Joe didn't volunteer to chair the event when Robert Parsons left, it all would have been over. As far as the fire department, the first year after Bob left, they were tremendous. They paid for all the toys and handed them out. The second year, we paid for half the toys and they handed them out. The third year, we paid for all the toys and they still wanted to hand them out. We asked for an ambulance for the Easter Egg Hunt, because hundreds of kids were there. It showed up when the event was over."

Stetson said the police have been very helpful. "Sgt. Dan McGowan is on the Committee. The Auxiliary Police, and their Chief Ron Dardano, have been the biggest asset this committee has had. We had $15,000 from IKEA for the July 4th activities, and $5,000 from the town for the Children's Field Day. It's a shame that the Committee had to cancel it due to lack of volunteers. As Rodney King said, 'Why can't we all get along?' Don't complain, step up."  

Let's hope that more people (attention parents) come and volunteer for the Stoughton Community Events Committee.  Their next event is the Haunted Halloween Hayride. 

People like Kevin Stetson, Joe Mokrisky, and Bob Desmond work REALLY hard to make Stoughton a better place.  Less complaining and more volunteerism would seem to be the key to future success. 

The Committee has hosted events that include the Easter Egg Hunt, Children’s 4th of July Field Day, 4th of July Fireworks, 4th of July Parade, Touch-A-Truck, Haunted Hayride and the Christmas Parade.

As enjoyable as these events are, they take volunteers to make them happen. Many committee members have worked hard over the last couple years to bring these events to reality but they need your help! 

There are approximately 27,000 people living in the Town of Stoughton. The members of the Community Events Committee hope there are a few who would like to have fun working with their fellow residents to ‘Make a Difference in Stoughton.’

For information about volunteer opportunities, contact Joe Mokrisky, chairman, at 781-344-8887 or Bob Desmond, vice chairman at 781-344-8835.

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HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAYS: To Mel Frankel, a very cool dentist, and the generous husband of Town Meeting member (and my friend) Dori Frankel. To Howard Finer, Software Engineer at Sonus Networks, Inc. and the father of Zach Finer, who accompanied my daughter to the . To Mike Tepper, a Stoughton native, and the original owner of Gold's Gym in Stoughton. And to Paul McKeen, long-time umpire for Stoughton Youth Baseball, and owner of Viking Auto Appraisal in Canton.

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HAPPY BELATED ANNIVERSARY: To Beth and David Golden on their 32nd Anniversary, last Friday.  Beth lived across the street from me growing up in Randolph, and now lives in Stoughton. She's a Kindergarten teacher at Hertz Nursery.

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Jen July 03, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I am a parent - I'll volunteer...I'll volunteer to volunteer more parents!!!
Snyder's Stoughton July 03, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Call Joe or Bob and make it official, Jen. Thanks for reading the article and your response!
Jill Somers July 03, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Why was my comment deleted? I had a valid question - was there a search for more volunteers?
Jeffrey Pickette (Editor) July 03, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Hi Jill, I'm not aware of any comments being deleted. Sorry for any mixup.
Christine Iacobucci July 03, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I must agree with Jill...I saw but one ad in the Stoughton Pennysaver months ago that asked, in a general manner, for volunteers. I do not recall it mentioning that kids day was in jeopardy of being cancelled. I also do not recall any sense of urgency to the advertisement. I agree that a lack of volunteers is a challenge as many of us know. But as a parent, like many others, who does step up and volunteer, I would have gladly done so had I had more notice that it was to be canceled!
Snyder's Stoughton July 03, 2012 at 07:58 PM
The ad ran in the Pennysaver, Patch, the Journal and my website. It said that future events could be jeopardized if volunteers didn't step forward. There's no excuses AFTER it was canceled. People should now be volunteering for the haunted hayride, before it is threatened. And, working towards restoring Children's Field Day for NEXT year.
Jen July 04, 2012 at 04:08 AM
I have an idea - (not every parent gets a chance to read the PennySaver every week)...why don't we create flyers to go to the elementary schools? Have teachers hand them out to students with other stuff that kids bring home like homework, things parents need to sign...etc. I mean thats how parents find out about bake sales, book fairs and other community events right?
Joe Mokrisky July 04, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Greetings Everyone and Thanks Mark, The Events Committee did everything possible to keep Kid's Day but without a person to handle all the logistics, it makes it very difficult. The committee has some great workers but like many have families and cannot work every event. In recent weeks we did receive a couple of calls as a result of the ad but nobody volunteered to run Kid's Day and as of today nobody has said they are willing to do so. Jen has a great idea that has been discussed in the past by our committee and those with kids in the schools should remember that we have sent flyers home for past events. We have tons of ideas but can't accomplish them without more help. I know a couple of people who posted here and I believe one has my cell phone number. Please call me if you would like to help. I'm sure you'll have fun being part of the committee. I still do. Thanks, Joe Mokrisky
Holly Boykin July 06, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Hi Joe- The events committee does a great job and I know that many kids including my son Eric are appreciative of the hard work of the volunteers. It is too bad that you were unable to attend Town Meeting this year or have a representative from the SCEC speak while we were discussing the budget. I am sure that Howard would have recognized you or another volunteer to have you talk about the challenges your group was facing and the decision to not have a kid's day because of a lack of volunteers. I am sure that between Town Meeting Members and television viewers - people would have jumped on the wagon to save the event. It is a difficult task to always be recruiting volunteers, managing a committee while balancing work and a family but I know the community benefits. Maybe the SCEC could do some ongoing electronic marketing with monthly updates on Patch, Stoughton Journal, Snyder's Stoughton and other venues of a list of the events and the committee's specific needs. I know that I could not have done anything from December - May but would have helped in the fall if I was told point blank that without volunteers the Hayride would be cancelled. Hopefully, your committee will re-group and think about ways to bring in volunteers and take in all perspectives and opportunities to move forward. Holly Boykin
Joe Mokrisky July 06, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Hi Holly, The members of the Events Committee remained focussed and committed to hosting events that Stoughton families can enjoy but without volunteers it becomes difficult because as you mentioned we all have families and work to balance. With all the conversation following the cancellation of Kid's Day only Jill Somers who posted here earlier contacted me and offered to run a Facebook page for us that was being discussed. The committee members will continue and try to attract new members but without 6 new members willing to work on the Haunted Hayride in October it will not take place. You have my cell phone number if you would like to talk to me at any time. I hope all is well with
Rob Mitchell July 07, 2012 at 12:23 PM
@Kevin Stetson: Huge THANK YOU again for putting in all the hard work and effort and making the Stoughton 4th of July fireworks and parade a very special event. I can't imagine how much time and energy you and others put into making it all happen but the town is very thankful for all you do. @StoughtonCommunityEvents: Huge THANK YOU for the volunteers that are still working and trying to pull together these special events in Stoughton. I know its a rough road and seems very thankless but here's one long time resident saying "thank you" for all you've done and continue to do to benefit our town.

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