Working to make Falmouth a better place is what all the 2014 annual chamber awardees have in common with their years of community service.
The award committee selected Joseph C. Martyna as its 35th Outstanding Citizen of the Year for his professional and community work in Falmouth. Jeffrey W. Oppenheim will receive the Professional Excellence Award, Kevin K. Lynch, the Community Service Award, Elizabeth Bailey, a Special Recognition Award, and the Falmouth Road Race organization, the Chairman’s Award at the 100th Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 1, from 5 to 8:30 PM at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel on Quaker Road in North Falmouth.
Mr. Martyna has dedicated much of his professional life and volunteerism to Falmouth’s growth since he first set foot in Falmouth in 1949.
“When you look at the list and learn about his contributions to the community it is huge,” Jay Zavala, president and CEO of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, said.
Mr. Martyna emphasizes, however, that he did not work alone.
“I am flattered,” Mr. Martyna said about receiving the award. “But at the same time, I accept this for all the volunteers in Falmouth. This town is a town of volunteers. I am so lucky to have spent time working for the town.”
He first came to Falmouth with the Air Force to Otis Air Force Base after training as a jet engine mechanic with the military. He was almost shipped overseas during the Korean War but ended up not going because he did not have much time left on his enlistment, and the war was winding down. After Mr. Martyna left the military, he and his wife, whom he met in Falmouth, went to work for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in Connecticut, where he also went back to school on the GI Bill for a BS in mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut. They had wanted to come back to Falmouth and had their chance in 1963 when he took a job at Falmouth Hospital as the hospital engineer and later served as vice president of support services, having earned a master’s in hospital administration from Lesley University.
Mr. Martyna’s work at the hospital and as a member of the Falmouth Finance Committee from 1966 to 1978, serving as chairman for eight years, helped modernize Falmouth’s facilities and community services. Under his guidance the hospital expanded from a 58- to a 130-bed facility and added the JML Care Center and Heritage Assisted Living. He also oversaw the construction of other medical buildings on the Cape, such as the Community Health Center in Mashpee, the Mashpee Health Center and the Sandwich Health Center. As chairman of the finance committee, he helped secure the purchase of land and the two-thirds vote at Town Meeting needed to build the town sewer system, which services the hospital and Main Street, along with the purchase of land for Falmouth Technology Park, the new Falmouth High School, and the first addition to the Falmouth Public Library. He was a Town Meeting member for 25 years and served on the town’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation.
At age 84, Mr. Martyna continues to have an active volunteer life in Falmouth. He serves on the boards of the Salt Pond Areas Bird Sanctuary and the Quissett Harbor Preservation Trust, among others.
“I feel that his volunteer hours are a benefit to the community as a whole,” said Katharine M. Taylor, executive director of the Salt Pond Areas Bird Sanctuary.
Both Mr. Oppenheim and Mr. Lynch also cite strengthening their community as a focus of their work.
Mr. Oppenheim, a real estate attorney for almost 35 years in Falmouth and a volunteer mediator in the district and probate courts, said that his parents served as his role models in community service.
“They both immigrated from Germany in the 1930s,” Mr. Oppenheim said. “Both their communities were destroyed; building community is a central theme in my family. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from it, it makes it easy for me to do.”
He brings specific skills to the organizations he works with, including the Falmouth Service Center, FCTV, and Friends of Falmouth Bikeways among others. He also helped found the Falmouth Jewish Congregation and has served on many community boards throughout the years.
“He leads with compassion and a community-minded heart,” Brenda Swain, executive director of the Falmouth Service Center, said. “He never forgets to bring his intellect and expertise. That’s what makes him so special.”
Mr. Lynch was happy to call Falmouth home when he landed here in 1973 as a helicopter pilot for the army and National Guard after growing up in a military family and moving often as a child.
“I am just overwhelmed. I was really surprised,” Mr. Lynch said by phone about the award. “I have done these things to make Falmouth better.”
Early on Mr. Lynch was a bicycle commuter to the base and he decided to join the Falmouth Bikeways Committee. They made him the chairman at the first meeting. He helped lead the extension of the bike path piece by piece from Locust Street all the way to North Falmouth. Mr. Lynch also founded Falmouth Community Television to show the good things happening in Falmouth, he said, such as the Christmas Parade and the Road Race. He was also a Town Meeting member for 20 years and served on the local planning committee, which wrote the town’s comprehensive plan and has served on many committees and organizations through the years. A retired US Army colonel and Vietnam veteran, Mr. Lynch donates his time now working with youth cadets to build leadership skills.
“We at FCTV are thrilled that Kevin Lynch, our longtime board member and volunteer producer, has been chosen to receive this tribute from the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce,” Debra Rogers, executive director and CEO at FCTV, wrote in an e-mail. “A humble man, Kevin would never seek recognition for the vast impact his efforts have made in our community. We wish Kevin a well-deserved congratulations.”
The chamber is also giving an award to one of its own, Ms. Bailey, age 91, who worked with the chamber over a span of 40 years with her work, then as a board member and a senior information specialist after she retired.
“When I was working, I was involved with the chamber and enjoyed the experience and went back for another 25 years.” Ms. Bailey said.
The awards committee does not give out this award each year; it is given to those individuals who deserve recognition, but do not fit in the other award categories. The last award was in 2012.
“She is dear to us because she is our colleague,” Mr. Zavala said. “She was the glue that kept us all together.”
The Chairman’s Award is selected by the chairman of the board, Julene Augusta.
“The Falmouth Road Race organization is a model of excellence,” Ms. Augusta said. “With 42 years of learning and improving, the organization shows that it listens, it innovates, it improves its nonprofit business model, it promotes Falmouth around the world, and it gives back to the community.”