By Jeanne Tao
On Sunday, Nov. 18, the Putnam History Museum held its 54th Annual Thanksgiving Candlelight Service at the Chapel Restoration in Cold Spring, which was free and open to the public. Following the service, a Thanksgiving dinner to raise funds for the museum was held at Highlands Country Club in Garrison, where Richard Saunders was awarded the Elizabeth Todd Healy Volunteer Service Award.
The nondenominational service, which started as the sun set across the Hudson and was lit by real candles in the chapel’s chandelier, was introduced by Chapel Restoration Board President Michael Armstrong, with an invocation and benediction from Father Francis Geer from St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Garrison.
Throughout the service, members of the community — Grey Zeien, Elise LaRocco, Christy Guzzeta and Elizabeth Edelson — read from presidential proclamations by Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Barack Obama.
Interspersed among the readings were hymns sung by all in attendance and accompanied by Elizabeth Ailes, publisher of the Putnam County News and Recorder, on the chapel organ, and musical numbers performed by Cold Spring songwriter Aurora Straus, who is in the eighth grade at Hackley School.
At the dinner that followed, Elizabeth Todd Healy and the Putnam History Museum awarded Richard Saunders the award for exceptional volunteer service, named after Elizabeth Todd Healy. Saunders, owner of the frame and rare-print shop Hudson Rogue Co. in Nelsonville, has served the museum on the collection committee and presented his own collection of images of women with the American flag for museum and related traveling exhibitions.