April 9, 2012

Cheers and Jeers: April 9, 2012

CHEERS to the legacy of Carol Leonard and Jack Buchanan, two dedicated Franklin County residents who died last week. Leonard was director of the Constable Adult Center for more than 25 years, and her tireless advocacy on behalf of senior citizens was greatly admired and widely emulated. When fuel prices went up, she lobbied Albany for more Home Energy Assistance Program funds. When television switched from analog to all digital signals that left many rural seniors cut off from local news and safety warnings, she stepped in. "I worry about the seniors out on the back roads who live from check to check and can't afford it," Leonard told the Press-Republican in 2009. "They are out there, cut off from any information." If you had a concern, she made it her concern, and together, you'd look for a solution. Leonard also organized what has become the annual community-wide garage sale, which has drawn thousands to Constable for the past 23 years, and held a number of successful fundraisers to benefit the Adult Center. Buchanan was a teacher in life, whether it was in an industrial-arts classroom at Salmon River Central or on a rifle range with Olympic-level athletes honing their marksmanship skills. But he is most remembered as a firefighter through and through. He served 50 years in the Westville Volunteer Fire Department and returned to a classroom setting as a New York state fire-science instructor, teaching hundreds of Franklin County volunteers to love the work as much as he did. Whether it was watching ice endangering homes on Flat Rock Road, dousing a fire at the Franklin County Landfill or conducting one of the dozens of fire investigations as part of the County Cause and Origin Team, Buchanan handled each situation professionally. He was selected for local, county and state boards and committees, but you could tell what meant the most to him: improving firefighter safety, protecting the public and serving with his fire-department family. We know our Public Record page every day carries obituaries for people who have contributed to their communities. It just struck us that Franklin County lost two champions of the people within a span of a few days. We knew Carol Leonard and Jack Buchanan well from our interaction with them for news stories over the years, and we can personally attest to how deeply they cared about their communities. They will be missed. But we are sure they inspired many others to carry on a legacy of service.

— If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at

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