Thanking Parks Commissioner Tom Chipman
Under normal circumstances a Parks Commissioner who has selflessly served as a volunteer for their community for over 14 years would have some formal recognition at the end of their final term. A gathering with cocktails and stories of hard earned accomplishments to celebrate seems appropriate.
Perhaps even some parting gifts from those he served with or those who worked for him.
Unfortunately, this is 2020-2021, so when Tom Chipman stepped away from the Parks Commission last May, he did so quietly, with a heartfelt round of thank you’s at the end of a zoom meeting. While we hope to find a way to better honor Tom’s invaluable service to Holliston once we can gather safely, we would like to honor his accomplishments and publicly thank him now.
When Tom joined the Parks Commission in June 2007, the department looked much different than it does today. The office was in the now demolished Flagg building, and, with the exception of the summer camps programming was limited to a few programs that could fit on a single page of copy paper. The playgrounds and courts were in desperate need of renovating and the commission had their work cut out for them.
Under Tom’s leadership the department has come a long way. The quintessential example of Tom’s style and ability to get things done was the 2012 reconstruction of Goodwill Park. He was instrumental in the planning and development of that project, including countless hours of meetings, fundraising efforts and recruiting of local resources. However what set Tom apart was that beyond his time around a conference table and making phone calls, he was actually there. He was on the ground, lugging around and assembling equipment, spreading mulch and making sure the project was progressing efficiently. That is the way Tom was as a Parks commissioner. He approached the role with a unique ability to contribute in the board room, and out in the field, putting his words to action.
Anytime a problem came up you could count on Tom “having a guy for that.” He was solutions oriented and he constantly found practical ways to work around any issues that came up at the parks facilities. He used the resources of his electrical company, as well his connections locally to spring into action when something needed to get done.
There are far too many accomplishments to list, however some highlights of projects that would not have been possible without Tom’s leadership and know-how are: The acquisition and remodel of 1750 Washington Street; The lights at Adams and Damigella fields; The LED lights at the Goodwill Tennis courts; and the new tennis and basketball courts at Patoma. He never stopped pushing to make this town a more fun, and functional recreational community, and these projects reflect that effort.
Three separate Parks and Recreation directors worked under Tom’s Leadership, but the longest tenured director to work with Tom was Kristen Hedrick. Tom and Kristen worked hand in hand for many years together, supporting each other in these efforts to make the community a more welcoming recreational place. Kristen had this to say about Tom’s time on the Parks Commission, “I have thoroughly enjoyed Tom’s mentorship and working with him with the Parks and Recreation department over the years. He is a true leader and inspiration. Regardless of the complexity of any project, Tom has always put the people and the community first.”
We sincerely hope to be able to send Tom off the way he deserves in the near future. In the meantime, thank you Tom for your time, your dedication, your never-give-up attitude, and for everything you’ve given this community. It’s a better place because of you.
The Holliston Parks Commission