Old Lyme’s 2021 Citizen of the Year Cheryl Poirier (second from left) stands with the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (left to right) First Selectman Timothy Griswold, Selectman Matt Ward and Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker. Photo by Michele Dickey.

OLD LYME — At tonight’s Annual Municipal Meeting, Old Lyme’s first selector, Timothy Griswold, announced the closely guarded secret that Cheryl Poirier had been selected by the Selectors’ Council as the 2021 Citizen of the Year. Old Lyme.

Here is the full text of the proclamation, which Griswold read aloud to announce the honor:

“We are thrilled to announce that Old Lyme’s 2021 Citizen of the Year is the very talented Cheryl Poirier. Cheryl has provided extraordinary service to the Town of Old Lyme in various capacities. She touched the hearts of many, and that will be reflected in my remarks tonight.

Honoring Old Lyme’s 2021 Citizen of the Year Cheryl Poirier (third from left) are (left to right) State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), City Clerk of Old Lyme Vicki Urbowicz, who officiated at the meeting, first manager Timothy Griswold, Selectman Matt Ward and Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker. Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Cheryl is deeply committed to promoting the arts. She is the former marketing associate of the Florence Griswold Museum. The museum credits her with developing its ‘brand’ and says Cheryl is a natural storyteller who is good at distilling information into beautiful moments that capture her audience’s attention. She had a particular impact on her former museum colleague Tammi Flynn.

Tammi told us that Cheryl is a big thinker whose mind never stops. She sees everything as an opportunity to be explored. Specifically, Tammi said Cheryl was always five steps ahead of everyone else and frequently “ringed” her phone with text messages saying, “Did you see that?” and “Have you thought about that?” Tammi usually responds “no” followed by the rolling eye emoji because somehow Cheryl always finds information she hasn’t seen yet. She says Cheryl is simply the best at bringing both ideas and people together.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold begins presenting Old Lyme’s 2021 Citizen of the Year – a very surprised Cheryl Poirier. Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Cheryl is also active within the Old Lyme Arts District and regularly shares information about art events on social media. She led the planning of Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival and takes part in events such as Celebrate music and the House’s Light Up Old Lyme program. She is also the spearhead Fairy doors on Lyme Street every fall, so we have her to thank for the festive decorations found on the street.

Dan Stevens, owner of Nightingale Acoustic Cafe and member of the Arts District, worked directly with Cheryl on Make Music Day and had this to say about her: selfless way. His enthusiasm is contagious and his ability to motivate and lead is exceptional. It is a real pleasure to work with her and a great asset to our city.

Katie Huffman, director of the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library and current arts district leader, echoes Dan’s sentiments. She told us: “He is a rare person who has both exceptional ideas and the means and the tenacity to realize them. Cheryl is one of those people. She has incredible ideas, the confidence to share them with others, and the positive attitude to see them through. In my experience, she leaves every project and organization better than she found it – more organized, efficient, communicative and productive. She’s more interested in seeing things done than winning accolades, but she’s willing and more than able to take the lead when needed.

Former Old Lyme elected official Mary Jo Nosal hugs Old Lyme 2021 Citizen of the Year Cheryl Poirier. Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

On a more personal level, Cheryl is kind and supportive. She notices when people are struggling and is willing to offer a helping hand or a word of encouragement when the going gets tough. She is always interested in learning more – about herself, the community and the whole world – and she is willing to share her knowledge and experience with others for the benefit of many.

Beyond all that she does to support the arts, Cheryl has been instrumental in several city projects. She is the current chair of Old Lyme’s sustainability team and through her leadership has achieved bronze and silver level certifications from Sustainable CT. Charolette Wyman, who works closely with Cheryl on our sustainability efforts, said the first time Cheryl attended a Sustainable Old Lyme meeting she was very quiet, which is hard to imagine as she tends to have strong opinions and ideas. But very quickly, the committee realized his intelligence and were amazed at his ability to see the potential synergies between many organizations in the city. Charolette told us the smartest thing Sustainable Old Lyme did was make Cheryl their leader and we couldn’t agree more. Now is the time for her to focus on earning that gold certification!

One of the projects that has helped the city achieve these certifications is the city-wide Pollinator Trail project that encourages residents to plant native species. Cheryl worked alongside Suzanne Thompson to make the project a resounding success. When asked what it was like to work with Cheryl, Suzanne said: “When I collaborate with Cheryl on a project, I know it will be visionary, well thought out and well executed – and it will be an experience. nice to work with her to get things moving.

The 2021 Old Lyme Citizen of the Year chats with select woman Martha Shoemaker after the presentation. Howard Margules, member of the Economic Development Commission and former chairman of the commission, stands in the back.

Because she doesn’t have enough on her plate, Cheryl has also agreed to chair the City’s Economic Development Commission. During her relatively short period as President so far, she has worked closely with Edie Twinning to develop a brand new website dedicated to promoting tourism in Old Lyme. She collected stories from small business owners, wrote copy, put together various pages, collected photographs, and worked diligently to come up with an amazing product that was beautifully designed and packed with information. Michelle Noehren from my office works frequently with Cheryl and said she is one of the most committed, passionate, hardworking and innovative committee chairpersons. Howard Margules, the former president of EDC, agrees, stating that Cheryl is the epitome of a professional, is hard-working and results-oriented, and always keeps an open mind.

Highly organized, deeply driven, compassionate and innovative visionary are all terms that accurately describe Cheryl and her leadership style. Everything I mentioned today she does on a voluntary basis so we have no idea how she also takes the time to be the wonderful wife, parent and friend that we know she is. The Town of Old Lyme is grateful for all it does to support the arts, tourism, environment and economic development in this town that is so dear to it. Congratulations, Cheryl, on being selected as Old Lyme Town’s 2021 Citizen of the Year.

Griswold concluded by saying, “It’s a well-deserved honor,” and we here at LymeLine wholeheartedly agrees!

A somewhat upset Poirier, to whom the nomination came as a complete surprise, told LymeLine exclusively via email, “It is an incredible honor to be named Old Lyme Citizen of the Year. Volunteering in a community always means learning new perspectives, finding creative ways to collaborate, and of course making new friendships along the way.

She added: “I feel very lucky to be volunteering alongside great people, who challenge me and are just as passionate as I am to support the amazing things happening at Old Lyme.”

Congratulations Cheryl!