The Suffield Garden Club is proud to announce that Alice Dahms is the recipient of a Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut Tribute Award for her years of overseeing the Hazard Waste Collection Day in our town.
Back in 1983, Suffield First Selectman Ted Brocket wanted to have a household hazardous waste collection day. His wife was a garden club board member at that time and Alice was chairing the Conservation Committee. The town had not budgeted for the collection and SGC made a large donation along with other town businesses. At this point it became Alice’s project to design and oversee. A dedication that continued for thirty-five years.
Education was an important part of her vision. Alice prepared informational fliers that were sent to all school children and to homeowners through a town bank mailing. An informational study was also done at Suffield High School about hazardous waste.
At a SGC flower show, the Hazardous Waste Collection was the educational aspect. Alice borrowed a doll house and indicated which rooms were most likely to contain hazardous materials. There was also a DEP video presentation.
The first hazardous waste day was held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with SGC supplying a lunch for workers, checking for town residency, answering questions and directing traffic. The format has not changed much over time. Alice skillfully implemented the various committees needed to run the project successfully and it has endured. In recent years, a member of the Public Works Commission said that it all came off “like a well-oiled machine” under Alice’s guidance.
Over the years, Household Hazardous Waste Collection occurred under various and extreme weather conditions. Once it was so cold that a member of the Public Works Commission brought out a wooden plank for Alice and her helper to stand on as it was bitterly cold standing on the blacktop. She also withstood rain and heat!
The crews of men who worked at the Hazardous Waste days used to sign up for the sites where they wanted to work. Word has it that there were fights as to who could come to Suffield to enjoy the lunches Alice’s SGC ladies prepared.
This project has no trouble filling committee slots for many reasons that are Alice. With her gentle leadership style, she has led by example, exposing old and new Garden Club members to the positive aspects of hard work, giving your time and service to your community. She has inspired our members well beyond our Hazardous Waste Day project. She has shown us how to execute real leadership.
Alice Dahms is a woman with great energy and a will to contribute to her community. She has been involved in the Hazardous Waste Day project all these years, drawing in workers, generating publicity and new ways to educate people.
Endurance is a marker of success. Thank you, Alice Dahms.