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John Puchala receiving the award from Ron Marcus, Phil Norgren in the background
John Puchala after receiving the award. Ron Marcus at right.
At left Phil Norgren, outgoing Chairman.

The Stamford Historical Society

Presents the Virginia T. Davis, Stamford Historical Society
Distinguished Service Award to

John Puchala

16 June 2003
Address by Ron Marcus, Librarian

Good evening. It is a pleasure for me to present this year's Virginia T. Davis, Stamford Historical Society, Distinguished Service Award to one of our most outstanding volunteers.

This tribute is given in memory of a remarkable person whose devotion to the City of Stamford through this organization was summarized in a 23 March 1983 Advocate Editorial. "She believed that a community's sense of its own history gave it a solidity and depth that it otherwise would not have. She was right in thinking so."

Most individuals usually choose to reside in Stamford because of employment with a business situated here, or in proximity, accessible by rail or highways. Our honoree's father came to this place for a somewhat different reason, military training at the Czechoslovakian camp on Gutzon Borglum's estate. After serving in WWI, he married and settled in Poughkeepsie, New York, where a son (our award recipient) was born. Later the family returned to this City, settling in the Cove section on Willowbrook Avenue. Our honoree attended the public schools and enrolled in machine shop training at the State Trade School. Upon graduating from Stamford High School, Class of 1942, he began working for the Machlett Laboratories in Springdale as a machinist. By then however, our nation was at war, so the following year he was inducted into the military, serving in The United States Army Air Corps for two years. Upon discharge he returned to his occupation at Machlett's continuing as a faithful employee until 1988. During these years he held several positions, including recording secretary and treasurer, of the local chapter, International Association of Machinists union at this company. Through them he participated with the Stamford Chapter of the American Red Cross blood drives whenever they set up a drawing at work.

After retirement, he decided to continue volunteering for this worthwhile cause, which he does to this day. In addition, time was allotted for helping the Literacy Volunteers of America.

In the late 1980's he embarked on his tenure here at the Society, assisting in the Photo Archive. His attention to details, knowledge of local streets, buildings and landmarks, combined with understanding the care needed to handle fragile items, were noticed and greatly appreciated. In time he started preparing finding aids for several of our manuscript collections, allowing researchers easier access to these materials. Currently he continues with library archival work, is a member of the Library Committee, and assists as a gallery docent if needed.

The spirit of an individual's donation of their time to an organization is truly represented by him. Persons such as this not only contribute to their communities' quality of life, but also serve as exemplary role models.

It is with great esteem that I now present the Virginia T. Davis, Stamford Historical Society Distinguished Service Award to John M. Puchala.

Photo © Stamford Historical Society

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