, Derry, New Hampshire

December 27, 2012

Leaders who know the meaning of the word

Derry News

---- — As 2012 winds down, it’s time to reflect on some of the communities’ leaders and their influence.

There is a lot to applaud.

Derry police Chief Edward Garone marked his 40th year on the job last spring. Town officials celebrated his tenure by naming June as Ed Garone Month.

His tenure and success are laudable. He came to Derry at a time when his service and leadership were sorely needed. His presence has been felt.

In addition to cracking down on crime, Garone has been an active leader in community life. He’s well known for his work with the Boys and Girls Club, in Rotary and more.

He is now the police chief with the longest tenure in the state. We hope he sticks around.

Next door, police Chief William Hart has had a busy year.

When former Town Manager David Caron resigned, Hart stepped in as interim manager, a role he still holds.

Not only has Hart juggled the running of the town and the police department with aplomb, he’s made some significant changes that should serve the town well.

Interim managers are often little more than placeholders, maintaining the status quo until the position is filled permanently. That’s not an approach Hart has taken and the town is better off for it.

Many hoped Hart would throw his name in the hat for the job, perhaps even maintaining his dual roles. But, that was not to be. Hart is not a candidate for the permanent job and will return to being a fulltime chief when the Town Council makes its choice sometime next year.

But he has served the town well during his six months as interim leader and residents can expect more of him in the months ahead and once he’s back in the station full time. Londonderry needs more leaders like him.

On the school side of business, Derry welcomed Laura Nelson after 10-year veteran Mary Ellen Hannon departed from that office.

Nelson, who still carries Kentucky in her voice, appears to be a good fit. She’s enthusiastic, responsive and has settled in well. There are many challenges ahead for New Hampshire superintendents, as the Legislature continues to debate how to fund the state’s schools. Derry appears to be in good hands.

Londonderry schools continue under the experienced hand of superintendent Nate Greenberg. With declining enrollment and more fiscal challenges than any school board wants to see, Greenberg continues to keep a steady hand on the tiller and should steer the ship well into the years ahead.

He should have some great music to accompany him as he traverses the rough fiscal waters ahead.

The Londonderry High School community could just bust its buttons with pride over the Marching Lancers, a band well known around the globe.

The Lancers were just invited to participate in President Obama’s Inaugural Parade next month. That will be an encore performance for the flashy group of young musicians; they also performed for the president in 2009.

The band would not be what it is today without the enthusiastic leadership of “Mr. Music,” longtime music director Andy Soucy.

Named Londonderry’s Citizen of the Year in February, Soucy also was chosen as the Greater Derry/Londonderry’s Citizen of the Year in 2010.

But the accolades don’t appear to go to his head.

The traditional top hat worn by the Chamber’s person of the year fit quite nicely. Soucy always is quick to give credit to the band and its members.

But few high school bands from towns the size of Londonderry have made such a global impact.

Thank Soucy’s 38 years with the district for its program’s success. The band has traveled as far away as the Great Wall in China, the Rose Bowl parade and is a regular in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

If anyone had cause to blow their own horn, it’s Soucy.

He won’t, so we will.