EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 3, 2013

Windham volunteer is tops in the county

Windham woman is county's top volunteer

WINDHAM — Barbara Coish is bound for the Statehouse in Concord next week to get a big award.

It’s a good thing for state officials they scheduled the ceremony for Monday because, around Windham, everyone knows you won’t get Coish away from what she calls “my seniors” on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Coish is president of the Windham Seniors and those are lunch days at the senior center. There are 25 or 30 town residents who regularly count on Coish being there for them.

The Joseph D. Vaughan Award is the state’s highest award for senior volunteers. One person in each county is chosen to receive the award every year. The governor publicly thanks recipients for their service. This year, Coish is Rockingham County’s honoree.

Helen Kostrzynski nominated Coish on behalf of Rockingham Nutrition and Meals on Wheels.

“She’s been a volunteer for so many years,” Kostrzynski said of Coish. “She’s one of those volunteers we rely on to do so much. If Barbara says she is going to do something, she’s going to get it done.”

Coish, who just turned 75 and says she doesn’t feel that age at all, didn’t see this coming.

“It was quite an honor to even be nominated,” Coish said. “It was a surprise I won.”

Coish will board the town van for the trip to the Statehouse. She will be accompanied by some of the seniors, folks from the Rockingham program and town recreation coordinator Cheryl Haas.

Her family will be there, too — husband Ron, daughter Karen Mackey, son Jonathan Coish.

That’s appropriate. Family had something to do with this from the start.

Coish would accompany her mother, Alma Zins, and her mother-in-law, Hilda Coish, to lunch with the seniors.

“I took my mother and my mother-in-law,” she said. “They didn’t drive. I would hang around.”

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