Roberta Briggs Named 2019 Riley Award Recipient

by | Nov 27, 2019

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.”

Photo courtesy of Roberta Briggs via Facebook

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

1977 Hugo Ullman
1978 Janet Macmillan
1979 Hubert K. Barry & Mary Adamsky
1980 John J. Boudreau
1981 Alfreda Warren
1982 Not Given
1983 Lorraine Nordgren & Paul Noack
1984 Not Given
1985 Anna & Dick Fleming
1986 Not Given
1987 Albert & Ronald Prouty
1988 Frank & Joan Cassidy
1989 Edmund Lemansky
1990 Kevin & Nancy Beach
1991 Bob Lund & Bill Bylund
1992 Suzanne Billings & Lil Green
1993 Doris Hill
1994 George S. Jewell & Ellie Oleson
1995 Lorraine Scheffler & Henry Utter
1996 Matt & Adele Smith
1997 Ray Twarowski & Paul Sturgis
1998 Anne & Jack Nugent
1999 Dan Young
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
2007 Hilda Healy
2008 Patricia Bukoski
2009 Richard Ringgard
2010 Victoria & David Mclaughlin
2011 Rev. Robert F. & Leona F. Fenby
2012 Rev. John Gee
2013 Robert R. Breault
2014 Kenneth Ethier
2015 Roger Belhumeur
2016 Rev. Dennis Knight
2017 Alice M. Rea
2018 Chester and Roberta Stencel