Michael Tippo, an Air Force veteran, town leader, and founder of the Enfield Fourth of July celebration, is being recognized for his dedication to his town and country with the annual Patriot Award, presented each year at the celebration.
Peter Falk, chairman of the Patriot Award Committee, said the award, established in 2003, recognizes patriotism as a "vital thread that binds and strengthens our community while defining us as a nation," and Tippo is the embodiment of that spirit.
"I have known Mike Tippo for over 42 years," he said. "He has served his country and served his community, in addition to being married for over 45 years, raising two lovely daughters, and being an active member of his church."
Tippo was nominated for the award by his daughter, Julie Cotnoir, who described her father as the definition of patriotism, which is "to show devoted love, support, and defense of one's country," beginning with his enlisting as a young man in the United States Air Force.
"My father has shown his commitment to his country and community," she noted. "As a founder of the town celebration, he was able to establish an event that reminds thousands of visitors each year of the sacrifices made to live in this free country."
Among his accomplishments, Tippo is a co-founder of the Enfield Fourth of July celebration, a member of the town's Community Emergency Response Team, and a volunteer and former board member of the Enfield Food Shelf, a position that gave him the opportunity to ensure that military families and veterans have access to food and support services.
Tippo also serves as president of the Enfield Jaycees and "remains committed to ensuring his hometown is a patriotic and family-friendly community," Cotnoir wrote on the nomination.
Falk also lauded Tippo for his visionary, community endeavors and philanthropic efforts on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
"We were in the Jaycees together, which is where he shined within the community," Falk noted. "Mike was instrumental in organizing an event called the Haunted House, providing entertainment for all age groups within the community. He was also instrumental in establishing a glass recycling program in Enfield long before the town took over the program and was also big on fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Over the years, Mike has given so much to the community - and still does today."
The Patriot Award is the brainchild of Jason MacLelland, owner of Pearl Street Barber Shop, who was inspired by the American flags flying from homes and utility poles on Enfield Street.
"They reminded him not to take our liberties for granted," Falk said. "We are surrounded by patriots in our everyday lives, and Jason MacLelland suggested a local man or woman be recognized for their act(s) of patriotism. The Enfield Town Council followed up by forming the Enfield Patriot Award Review Committee to establish criteria for the award and review the nominations annually."
Men and women nominated for the award must live in Enfield for at least 15 years.
This year's celebration will take place July 7, 8, and 9. For more information, please visit www.enfieldcelebration.org.