2012-02-03 / Front Page

An age old tradition

STORY BY DIANE C. BEAUDOIN

Leominster is once again in search of the city’s eldest citizen, and their award will be the prestigious Boston Post Cane.

Mayoral assistant Michelle Rattanavong is putting out an appeal to residents to nominate their seniors to see who’s name will be attached to the cane for the rest of their life.

A new cane has been purchased as the last one was stolen from City Hall back in 2009 during renovations of the mayor’s office.

Mayor Dean Mazzarella raised $600 for the city to purchase a new cane and continue on with the age old tradition.

History states that the publisher on the Boston Post newspaper, Edwin Grozier, back in 1909 sent canes to various cities to have them honor their own eldest residents.

It was always the eldest man that received the cane award, but in 1930, women were also honored.

The original canes were made of ebony wood from the Congo with a gold cap.

“The mayor has been doing the award for the past 18 years, since he’s been in office,” Rattanavong said.

The winner is not actually given the cane, but a pin replica of it. The canes stays in city hall protected by a glass case.

The pin and cane are currently at Joseph’s Jewelers awaiting to be engraved.

“So far we have one lady nominated that is turning 105 this March,” Rattanavong said.

“The mayor likes to continue this tradition as citizens should be recognized for their longevity,” she noted.

The last two recipients were Victoria Girouard, who passed in July of 2010 at the age of 104. She was succeeded by Lucia Ross, who held the award until her death in October 2010. She was 105 years old.

“Once we have a winner, a ceremony will be held to present the pin and the cane will go back on display,” Rattanavong concluded.

Anyone interested in nominating someone for the award is asked to call the Mayor’s Office at (978) 534-7500 with the information. Nominations will be taken until February 13th.

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