CONWAY — Residents of North Conway only since 2011, active volunteers Bob and Sharon Seaman are such a part of the social fabric of the community that you would think they have been here forever.
That quality of giving back makes them ideal selections as recipients of this year’s Steve Eastman Community Service Award, named in honor of late Mountain Ear co-founder and publisher Steve Eastman (1949-2008).
The award will be among those presented at the annual meeting of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, set to be held Oct. 29 at the Wentworth Inn in Jackson.
The award is given out annually by the Eastman family, represented by Steve's wife, local artist Sarah W. Eastman, and myself.
Criteria include people who best exemplify Eastman’s mantra, as expressed at a memorial rock at Steve Eastman Memorial Field at Mud Bowl’s Hog Coliseum: “Love everyone, hold no grudges, and do good deeds.”
The Seamans have lived up to that creed all their married life. Shortly after moving here, Bob and Sharon joined the First Church of Christ, Congregational and quickly became active members, getting involved with the Vaughan Community Service’s Food Pantry, along with a team of dedicated volunteers.
With the help of their daughter Kristen and David Shedd, both local residents, they set up the temporary rented space for the Vaughan Food Pantry.
Bob serves on the Vaughan Board of Directors as chairman of the Building Committee. The board is currently focused on a $1.4 million capital campaign to build a new food pantry and clothing depot on church property in North Conway. He also serves on the board of the Mountain Washington Valley Housing Coalition.
A love of the mountains first brought Bob to New England College from New York in his youth and later helped bring him and Sharon back to Henniker, where Bob taught civil engineering and planning for 40 years.
He served on numerous community boards and spent a sabbatical designing a downtown beautification project for the town of Henniker.
Sharon, a native of Concord, has always shared a passion for the outdoor life they enjoy and they brought up their children to share the same lifestyle. Originally a stay-at-home mom, Sharon considers herself a late bloomer. She returned to college, graduating at the age of 50.
Involved with an Adventure Bound Program while in college, she later voluntarily designed and ran a summerlong program called H.A.B.I.T.(Henniker Adventure Based Initiative For Teens) for the local White Birch Community Center.
She worked for the VNA for several years and was involved with Hospice in Concord and eventually retired from Havenwood Heritage Heights Retirement Community after 25 years of service.
Having survived a battle with breast cancer last year, Sharon says she is grateful for every day. She actively raises funds for Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation Hill Climb every year. She and Bob have participated in the Climb almost every year since moving here.
As recipients of the Steve Eastman award, they join past recipients Tom Chalmers of Chalmers Insurance (2015); Ben Wilcox of Cranmore Mountain Resort (2016); Josh McCallister of HEB Engineers (2017); and Cindy Russell, former director of Arts Jubilee (2018).
To make reservations for the annual meeting of the MWV Chamber of Commerce, call (603) 356-5701 or go to mtwashingtonvalley.org.