Bill Birns to be honored with MMH citizenship award

Bill Birns, a longtime local educator and public servant, will be honored with the 2008 Keene A. Roadman Citizen of the Year Award from the Auxiliary of Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center. The award will be presented to Bill at the auxiliary’s annual Harvest Moon Ball on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Hanah Country Resort in Margaretville.
A resident of Fleischmanns, Bill served on the Margaretville Memorial Hos-pital Board of Trustees from 1977-1983 and again from 1998-2005. During his tenure, Bill served the hospital as vice president, chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and as an active member of a variety of board committees and task forces.
Raised in Westchester County, Bill came to the Catskills in 1971 to teach at Margaretville Central School, where for 29 years he taught high school English and Social Studies. He also taught English to Speakers of Other Languages from kindergarten through 12th grade. From 2000-2007, Mr. Birns taught English and led the English Department at Onteora High School in Boiceville.
In the early ’70s, Bill was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Erpf Catskill Cultural Center in Arkville, now a component of The Catskill Center for Conservation and Devel-opment.
Bill has long been active in local politics, managing campaigns on the town, county and regional levels. He is particularly proud of managing the 1982 campaign of Judge Bob Estes, the first Delaware County Democrat to win countywide office in 50 years.
A former member of Fleischmanns’ Skene Library Board of Trustees, Bill has been active in the Fleischmanns First civic group and is the voice of the Mountain Athletic Club vintage baseball team. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury, the historic summer home of naturalist John Burroughs.
Bill is the author of “A Catskill Catalog,” a weekly column in the Catskill Mountain News covering history, geography, day-trips, arts and culture of the Catskill Mountain region.
He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Union College in Schenectady and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Linguistics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Bill and his wife, Gayla, share three grown sons and three small grandchildren.
The Keene A. Roadman Citizen of the Year Award is presented each year at the auxiliary’s Harvest Moon Ball. Rich and Bonnie Schaedle of Pine Hill, last year’s recipients, will be presenting the award to Bill.
Tickets for the fund-raising ball are $85 per person and reservations are necessary. For more information or reservations, please call Pat Kolar at 845 586-2631, ext. 3145.