It has been a long tradition to recognize a Riverside Person of the Year who has made significant contributions to the community over the years. Originally a project of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce and the Riverside Township Lions Club, the recognition consisted of a golf outing followed by a dinner. The exact date of the first event is not clear.
The event no longer includes golf and is solely planned by the Lions Club. One other change was the award’s name, which originally was Man of the Year. However, in 1990 Kay Snyder became the first Person of the Year and the name stayed. Two couples, Lew and Martha Heine and Lloyd and Dorothy Unger shared the honors.
Here in 2022 the tradition continues, with the very deserving Connie Guardi being named Person of the Year.
Guardi and her husband, Tom, have been Riverside residents since 1979 and their son Tommy and his family, which includes his wife and two daughters, are also now Riverside residents,
Connie Guardi found her niche when she became a member of the Riverside Historical Commission, appointed by Village President Jack Wiaduck around 2007. She’s even served as chair of the commission. With her deep knowledge of the village, Guardi and Lonnie Sacchi authored an “Images of America” book on Riverside in 2012. She continues her work as a member of the commission, which also operates the Riverside Historical Museum.
She’s also an active member of the Frederick Law Olmsted Society, and it was fitting that she was announced as Riverside Person of the Year at the society’s celebration marking Olmsted’s 200th birthday in April.
As this year’s Person of the Year, Guardi remarked how much fun it was to ride as a guest of honor in the July 4 parade.
Honorees are chosen by a Lions committee that reviews nominations, which can be submitted by anyone.
A dinner celebrating Connie Guardi will be held on Sept. 22 at the Riverside Golf Club. Tickets priced at $60 will be available for purchase within the next few weeks at Aunt Diana’s, 29 E. Burlington St.; Riverside Bank, 17 E. Burlington St.; and the Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road.