2023-2024 Canterbury Lions Humanitarian Award Presented to CHS President, Linda Orlomoski

At a recent event held at the Port ‘N Starboard in New London, our own CHS President Linda Orlomoski was presented with a Humanitarian Award at the 15th Annual Humanitarian Banquet hosted by Connecticut Lions District 23-C.

Linda was nominated by the Canterbury Lions Club in recognition for “her longtime and significant community service to the Town of Canterbury.” Specifically the award was geared towards her recent care and restoration of Canterbury’s oldest burying grounds, the historic Cleaveland Cemetery which was established circa 1700.

Beginning a little over a year ago, the Canterbury Historical Society took over care of Cleaveland Cemetery from the Town of Canterbury and Linda began the tedious task of maintenance of the cemetery including mowing, weed whacking and headstone preservation. After extensive research on the care and maintenance of the historic gravestones in the yard, Linda was able to make a clear impact on the legibility of a good number of the stones, many of which were carved by some of best-known early gravestone carvers from the area.

Under her leadership, the Canterbury Historical Society was able to secure a grant through CT Humanities which enabled the historical society to erect a new road sign as well as interpretive signing designed to give visitors to the cemetery information on some of the notable burials along with a brief town history and a list of the carvers whose works can be found in what is considered to be more than a cemetery. Due to the number of historic stones carved by at least 12 of this area’s greatest gravestone carvers, the cemetery is also an open-air museum which preserves the early history of Canterbury and its first settlers as well as the legacy of the folk-art stone carvers whose work continues to grow in popularity.

In addition to a plaque from the Lions, during the ceremony Linda was also presented with a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly, a Certificate of Special Recognition from Congressman Joe Courtney and another certificate presented by State Senator Richard Blumenthal who made a special appearance at the banquet.

Linda would like to thank the Canterbury Lions for this most auspicious honor and she hopes that others will join her this coming spring and summer in her continuing maintenance of the historic Cleaveland Cemetery as well as restoration of more of the historic stones found therein.

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