Roberts Briggs has been name the 2019 John E. and Ethel E. Riley Outstanding Citizenship Award. The Riley Award was founded by Dr. Martha Pappas and her late husband, Dr. Arthur Pappas, in 1977 to honor Mrs. Pappas’ parents who served Auburn as Town Clerk and assistant clerk, respectively, for 40 years. The award honors those who have served the community in meaningful ways over a long period of time.
Mrs. Briggs says she is “flabbergasted” and “humbled” by the award.
“I try to do everything I can to help other people” said Briggs. “I feel blessed to have the opportunities I have. I am grateful to the people of Auburn.”
On joining an elite list of Riley Award recipients over the last 42 years, Briggs added, “I don’t feel like I’ve done anything special. I feel this is my civic duty to the Town of Auburn, and it’s nothing more than a lot of other people do.”
Briggs was born in Auburn on Old Common Rd., though her family moved to Connecticut for a time when she was a very young child. Briggs’ childhood was marked by personal loss. Her father passed when Roberta was three, and her mother died when Roberta was just eight. She also lost a brother when she was 16 years old. Robert and one brother are the surviving siblings of her her family.
Moving back to Auburn with her husband, Briggs raised two sons whom she describes as “wonderful, very civic-minded, and both served in the military.” One of her sons is traveling to Mass. to attend the Award ceremony on Wednesday, November 27 at First Congregational Church.
Clearly, her sons learned their civic-mindedness from their mother. Mrs. Briggs has a long list of boards, commissions and service to her community. She initially served on the Auburn Board of Health for 12 years. She decided not to seek reelection to another term, as her husband had become ill and they wanted to travel while they could.
Later, Mrs. Briggs served on the Council on Aging, as a Town Meeting Member, the Water Resource Committee, the Emergency Management Planning Committee, the Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the Auburn Historical Commission.
Briggs is a long-time member of the Auburn Housing Authority, having served for 16 years.
“I took over from a member who had to step away due to illness” explained Mrs. Briggs. “Since then, I have been reappointed by three different governors, most recently this past February (2019). So that term expires in 2024, and that would be 20 years on that board.”
Mrs. Briggs ia also very active in her Church, Bethel Lutheran.
“I sing in the choir, I am a lay minister and I preach two or three times a month, and I am on the Visitation Team,” Briggs says.
Mrs. Briggs is a registered nurse by training, and has served in numerous roles over the year including private duty, quality improvement, Life Care Center of Auburn, Auburn District Nurses, various hospitals and nursing homes, and as a substitute school nurse.
“I have enjoyed doing everything I have done,” added Mrs. Briggs.
The public is invited to attend the award ceremony, which is part of the annual Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service held annually on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
The Service and award ceremony details are:
Auburn Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service
Wednesday, November 27, 2019 | 7:30pm | First Congregational Church of Auburn | 128 Central St., Auburn, MA
History of John E. and Ethel E. Riley Award Winners
|1979||Hubert K. Barry & Mary Adamsky|
|1980||John J. Boudreau|
|1983||Lorraine Nordgren & Paul Noack|
|1985||Anna & Dick Fleming|
|1987||Albert & Ronald Prouty|
|1988||Frank & Joan Cassidy|
|1990||Kevin & Nancy Beach|
|1991||Bob Lund & Bill Bylund|
|1992||Suzanne Billings & Lil Green|
|1994||George S. Jewell & Ellie Oleson|
|1995||Lorraine Scheffler & Henry Utter|
|1996||Matt & Adele Smith|
|1997||Ray Twarowski & Paul Sturgis|
|1998||Anne & Jack Nugent|
|2000||Lynn & Tim Cummins|
|2001||Mary W. Robinson|
|2002||Phyllis D. Gallant|
|2003||Robert & Carole Murray|
|2004||Francis M. Provost|
|2005||George J. Fournier|
|2006||Elizabeth & William Gribbons|
|2010||Victoria & David Mclaughlin|
|2011||Rev. Robert F. & Leona F. Fenby|
|2012||Rev. John Gee|
|2013||Robert R. Breault|
|2016||Rev. Dennis Knight|
|2017||Alice M. Rea|
|2018||Chester and Roberta Stencel|