One of Rutland’s most selfless people was honored earlier this month in a well-deserved ceremony celebrating literally thousands of hours of volunteerism devoted to the greater-Rutland community.

The local Loyal Order of Moose honored Bobby Poquette, who recently received the national Moose organization’s highest honor, the Moose Pilgrim Degree of Merit. The honor is so rare, Moose from all over New England came to Rutland to take part.

I have known Poquette for about 20 years, and was honored to say a few words at the celebration. I met Bobby through volunteering for the American Red Cross and, over the years, have grown to see him as a true hero of this community, someone who always puts others first, looks for ways to be helpful and volunteers, often before he’s even asked.

I said I was honored to say a few words, so here are three in particular that describe Bobby: Loyal. Positive. Caring.

I’m willing to bet that the relationships you value most include people who are loyal to you. Unfortunately, people aren’t always loyal and, no doubt, everyone reading this has been disappointed at least once by someone. Bobby is one of the most loyal people I know. When he gets involved with something, whether a blood drive, or helping out on a food drive, or being a member of the Moose, he’s all in — for the long haul. He comes back time after time to help others, as if it’s a paying job, with complete loyalty to whatever cause he’s supporting, and the other people involved. It’s a gift when Bobby shows up.

I also mentioned the word positive. Bobby is one of the most positive people I know. In the entire time I’ve known him, I have never once heard him complain. He sees the good in other people. He jumps in when things aren’t going perfectly and brings a positive light to the situation. And no matter how frustrating or discouraging things are, when you ask Bobby to help, the answer is always “yes” — and that “yes” comes with a smile. Bobby sees the good in people and situations, and it brings everyone involved up a notch.

Lastly, the word caring. I’ve maybe met just a handful of people who are as caring for others as Bobby. Without fail, the first Christmas card I get every year is from him. Without fail, when we’re working at a blood drive, if someone comes in with a baby or toddler, Bobby wants to say “hi” and make the child smile. And without fail, when there is some task no one else wants to do, Bobby is the first one to step up, whether that means marching around town wearing a sandwich board sign, or assisting blood donors after they’ve made their donations.

Bobby truly cares about the people around him and the community at large, and it shows. He’s a role model for anyone who wants to make Rutland County a better place.

Steve Costello is a vice president at Green Mountain Power and lives in Rutland Town.

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