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Helen Dunlap of Dracut Named As An Unsung Heroine

Jun 23, 2017 05:47PM ● By Bill Gilman

(Photo from Helen Dunlap's Facebook page.)

(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the office of State Rep. Colleen Garry, D-Dracut.)

Helen Dunlap of Dracut was honored as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2017 class of Unsung Heroines. 

State Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) recommended Ms. Dunlap for this recognition because of her environmental work protecting farms and open space. Ms. Dunlap was honored with the other Unsung Heroines for her outstanding contributions to the Dracut community in a ceremony on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 1-4 p.m., in the Great Hall at the State House in Boston. While Ms. Dunlap was unable to attend in person, she was also honored with Senate and House citations from State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) and Representative Garry.

Helen grew up on Dunlap farm in Dracut where she lives today and uses her biological education to help the environment. She continues her mother’s legacy of protecting local farms and open space from development. 

The preservation of the Dunlap family farm was the first land in the Town of Dracut to be protected forever and was the catalyst for what would become hundreds of acres of protected farm land. Helen actively supported passage of the Community Preservation Act and serves on the town’s Open Space Committee; most recently as Chair, changing the face of the community forever. Several farms, as well as open space, in the community have been protected and a recreational complex developed under her leadership.

“I was thrilled to nominate Helen for her tireless work on land preservation and the CPC Committee. She has done her family and the community proud with her selfless dedication to our community,” said Rep. Colleen Garry.

“Drive through Dracut, and Helen’s mark on the community is visible and unmistakable,” said Senator L’Italien. “Her work protecting hundreds of acres of farm land and open space keeps Dracut’s character and rural tradition alive. Dracut is a more livable, beautiful place thanks to Helen. It’s an honor to celebrate Helen and highlight her many positive contributions.”

The Unsung Heroines are women who don’t make the news, but make the difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community is better because of their contribution.

The ceremony included a program emceed by MCSW Chair Margot Parrot, acknowledging each of the 2017 Unsung Heroines, along with remarks from Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg and Representative Colleen M. Garry, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. The ceremony was followed by a group photograph on the Grand Staircase and a Just Desserts reception.

A complete list of this year’s honorees is available by contacting the Commission; to request this list or for additional information please contact the MCSW at 617-626-6520 or [email protected]

This event was made possible with the generous support of the following community sponsors: Harbor Sweets, Kerry Goodwin Photography, Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies, Market Basket, Polar Beverages, and Tropical Foods.

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities. The MCSW provides a permanent, effective voice for the women of Massachusetts.

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