LITTLETON — For his more than half-century of service to his community, Gerald Winn, who retired as town moderator in September after 56 years, was honored locally and statewide.

On Friday at the Littleton Community House, Winn, who is the longest consecutively serving town moderator in the history of the state of New Hampshire, was named 2021 Littleton Citizen of the Year.

“Thank you,” he said. “This gathering is very heartwarming and I am very appreciative.”

Beyond serving as town moderator, Winn, a Piermont native who moved to Littleton in 1959, served a quarter-century as Littleton school moderator and served on the school board and as a community leader in many capacities.

In addition to the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award, Winn was given two proclamations, one from the New Hampshire Senate and the other from Gov. Chris Sununu.

They were read by Greg Eastman, president of the Littleton Industrial Development Corp.

The resolution from the Senate that was signed by state Sen. Erin Hennessey, R-Littleton, recognizes Winn’s “devoted service as Littleton town moderator.”

The governor’s commendation recognizes Winn being “an active member of the community” since his arrival in Littleton, “serving as director of the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce, as a member of the school board, and as a school moderator for 25 years. He is also active in his church and served as a deacon and an adult Sunday school teacher for many years.”

In 2011, Winn was named the chamber’s Business Leader of the Year.

Sununu said Winn is recognized for his “dedication and outstanding leadership” and is known for the “knowledge, patience and accessibility that he brought to each of his roles, and his decades of service are greatly appreciated.”

Joanne Melanson, a director for the chamber, read some words from the chamber’s board and presented Winn with the Citizen of the Year plaque.

“This is an honor for me to be able to make this presentation on behalf of the Littleton Chamber of Commerce,” she said.

Winn has always been visible and highly involved in his community and his many roles as a servant-leader are more numerous than the list of them and his positive involvement laid the foundation for the development of the town of Littleton, said Melanson.

“He has given tirelessly of himself for this community,” said Melanson. “Your kindness, your broad smile, and your positive comments to everyone you meet has certainly been a comfort to all of us. Thank you, Gerald, for giving of yourself so generously over the years and a big thank you to Gerald’s family for sharing Gerald with us.”

The Citizen of the Year plaque was presented to Winn for his “outstanding citizenship” and for his serving the Littleton community “with exemplary vision, pride, and commitment to the betterment of society.”

Winn said, “I am really overwhelmed, to be honest with you … This is very gratifying.”

Winn retired as town moderator after health challenges that began last year led to mobility issues that have resulted in the use of a wheelchair on some days.

“I’ve had a chance to have a closer look at the spiritual side of things,” he said. “I’ve learned to trust God completely, for everything. I’m in His hands, and I needed to be.”

During his honoring on Friday, he said he had mentioned to his wife of 62 years, Mona, that the cards and visits he has received deserve more than a thank you.

Soon after making Littleton his home, Winn said he would hear that there is always something going on in the town.

The root of that is that Littleton is like a big family, he said.

“There’s a lot of social capital in Littleton,” said Winn.

After earning a master’s degree in organizational and financial management, he said he learned the importance of having a balance between the social and economic sectors, a balance that Littleton has and that he said has kept him involved in the community.

He reflected on his decades of service.

“I certainly didn’t set out to be a long-term moderator or anything like that,” said Winn. “It’s been a pleasure. It’s been a part of my life and my family’s life … and I look at it as an extended family … I am just very thankful to have spent a lot of my time mixing and intermingling.”

Turning out on Friday were members of the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce, Littleton Police Department, Littleton Fire Rescue, Littleton town officials and state officials, and Winn’s family members who included his son, Greg, and wife, Mona.

“I think I can speak for everyone here, Gerald, when I say it’s been an honor to know you and you have our thoughts and prayers,” said Mark Bonta, vice-president of the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce.

While serving as town moderator, Gerald and Mona Winn were realtors who ran Century 21 Winn Associates.

Winn turns 84 on Saturday, Nov. 27, the same day he and Mona celebrate 62 years of matrimony.

“We celebrate again,” Mona said after Friday’s award ceremony.

Like her husband, Mona was also overwhelmed by the gratitude of the community.

“We appreciate it,” she said.

Winn was first elected town moderator in 1966, at the age of 28.

As moderator, he was known for keeping order at meetings while also giving any resident a full opportunity to speak.

He said his philosophy as town moderator was simple — “It’s the people’s meeting.”

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