Stan Dimock is synonymous with the word volunteer. So it comes as no surprise that he is the 2016 recipient of The Hattie Brown Award, presented annually since 1987 by the Fourth of July Committee to a worthy Bristolian who demonstrates the same spirit of community service as that of the late Hattie Brown.
A West Harford, CT native, Stan came to Rhode Island in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Bates College to take a job in the insurance industry. After living in Pawtucket where he founded the neighborhood improvement group, Quality Hill Association, Stan moved to Bristol 21 years ago, becoming a fixture along Poppasquash Road picking up trash. When he left the insurance industry in 1998 he began volunteering with Save the Bay, eventually becoming Volunteer Coordinator for a number of years; he continues to wear various hats within the organization.
Stan has made a lasting impact on the local environment: he created the popular shoreline clean ups throughout the state with Save the Bay, worked with Coastal Resources Management Council to establish the adoption of five harbor-side rights-of-way, organized school students to mark the storm drains “Don’t’ Dump – Drains to Harbor,” and as a founding member of Save Silver Creek Coalition, prevented the construction of a Cumberland Farms store and gas station on open space.
Certified with Community Emergency Response Team, Stan volunteered during the past two Fourth of July parades at the portable emergency room at the Annawamscutt Fire Station before spending the afternoon picking up remnants from the visiting crowds downtown. This year, Stan will be in the parade but when it ends and the crowds disperse, you know where you will find him. Stan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I first moved here, I remember looking out my then kitchen window, there was so much trash at the back end of the harbor, like a trash pit bobbing at the water’s edge. Everyone just expected it as normal. I spent that Saturday collecting the trash but within less than a week there was more trash with every incoming tide. The following weekend I picked up along Poppasquash Road and brought to the fisherman’s lot tires, lumber, garbage, plastic bags. It was huge. I called the town and they removed it but as the piles continued they said they couldn’t keep picking up. I met Kevin O’Malley, then regional director of Colt State Park. He said if I put everything across the street on state land they would remove it. He was my hero.
Anything identifiable I take to the police station. I see a lot more syringes than I ever use to find. One time I had a commercial fireworks shell the size of a cantaloupe. I took it back to my garage and called the Fire Department to have them pick it up. The man on the phone said, “You carried it in your hands back to your house? Okay, I want you to go fill a bucket of water and immediately put it in the water. The drier it is the more volatile it can be.” They sent out the bomb squad to take it.
It can get discouraging with the cigarette butts. I started counting and within one week I had picked up from the bottom of State Street to Hope Street over 1,000 butts. Anytime it rains they go into the storm drains and out into the harbor. They are loaded with chemicals and don’t decompose. It is frustrating that people don’t use the butt containers and it doesn’t help that ashtrays are optional in cars.
Growing up I developed a real sense of the impact one person can have on the world around them. The other side of the coin is I get such personal pleasure from what I do. It fulfills a lot of needs. It’s like planting a garden and watching it grow. The way that the town administration is set up it is very receptive to volunteer assistance from anybody willing to be on boards and commissions. It feels like the entire town of Bristol volunteers for the greater good of the town. That is what sets Bristol apart from any other community that I have known.