UNH Age of Champions Wildcat Inspirational Award
Richard (Dick) Durette
At 106 years old, Dick is a living testament to the power of positivity, intellectual stimulation, and clean living. His unwavering commitment to helping others and his willingness to try new things has inspired countless individuals in his community.
Dick's passion for learning started at an early age, and he went on to graduate from Dover High School in 1934. He joined ROTC at UNH in the fall and earned a degree in electrical engineering, overcoming the challenges of the depression and the war to achieve his goals.
Today, as a resident of Langdon Place in Dover, Dick continues to inspire others through his daily actions. Despite having eyesight challenges, he helps fellow residents navigate the online world and participates in community activities.
One of the most remarkable things about Dick is his insatiable thirst for knowledge. He keeps himself up-to-date with the latest medical research, environmental news, and information on health and wellness. He even offers guidance to other residents on how to use technology like computers and cell phones.
Susan Putney, the Director of Admissions at Langdon Place of Dover, summed up Dick's amazing spirit, saying, "How many 106-year-olds do you see ordering groceries weekly on Instacart, researching online for health information, using a cellphone to stay in touch with family? I don't know any others quite like Dick!"
Dick Durette's journey is an inspiration to all, and his unwavering commitment to living life to the fullest reminds us that age is just a number. We celebrate his accomplishments, his unrelenting spirit, and his contributions to his community.
UNH Age of Champions Excellence in Volunteerism Awards
Bob & Gayle Hylen
Bob and Gayle Hylen, now in their mid-seventies, grew up in Holbrook, Mass. They first met in the sixth grade. Following high school graduation, Gayle pursued a career in nursing, graduating from Mass. General Hospital School of Nursing and later from Mass. College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Bob received a basketball scholarship to Northeastern University and later was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army.
In the 1970s, Gayle began volunteer activities that continue to this day. She was the campaign coordinator for State Representative Andrew Card (who later became the White House Chief of Staff), chaired the Whitman Town Recreation Committee and the Whitman-Hanson H.S. Music Association, managed the South Shore Chapter of Camp Fire and American Heart Association, while also participating in local theater and choral groups. Following retirement and moving to Durham, Gayle has sung in a number of choral groups and volunteers at the Durham Community Church’s thrift shop (ECHO). As a member of the Active Retirement Associations, she served on the Board of Directors for 13 years as the Cultural Tours Director, Hospitality Director while also organizing an art exhibit and food drives during the pandemic.
In his working life, Bob served As a Platoon Leader, Troop Executive Officer, Troop Commander, and Squadron Operations Officer in the US Army. Following his discharge, he worked in the US Postal Service as an Investigator and eventually was in charge of all investigations in his field for New England and upstate New York. Bob served as the first President of the Cottages at Spruce Wood Condominium Association here in Durham and has been the President or Vice President of Jordan’s Camps, Inc. in Fryeburg, Maine for 41 years. In ARA, Bob served on the Cultural Tours Committee, was the hike’s coordinator, and was the longest-serving President in ARA’s history.
Bob and Gayle have been married for 55 years and have two children, five grandchildren, and an 18-year-old cat. They love living in Durham and greatly appreciate this nomination and would be honored to receive the award as the 2023 Age of Champions Excellence in Volunteerism Award.
Joanne began her career in New York City working in book publishing and later finding success in advertising. Using her English BA from Long Island University, she built upon that foundation when she moved to New Hampshire in 1991. In NH, Joanne entered the world of corporate training, including employee, sales, and leadership coaching. Along the way, she acquired an MS degree from Springfield College in Organizational Management & Leadership. Prior to retiring, Joanne directed marketing and communication efforts for a multi-state health insurance company. These days, Joanne finds work/life balance primarily between volunteering and “grandmothering” – both extremely rewarding endeavors.
For Joanne, volunteer activities provide purpose, community, and the realization that supporting those who need help can be great fun! Joanne is both thrilled and motivated to be recognized by this UNH Wildcat Age of Champions Excellence in Volunteerism Award.