SALEM — The president of a local bank was honored in a familiar setting Monday afternoon with the presentation of this year's Chief John P. Ganley Community Service Award.
Ann P. Lally was the guest of honor Monday at a special St. Patrick's Day luncheon held at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem.
Denise Dolloff, the club's development director, said Lally is a longtime supporter of local youth programs who has maintained an active presence at the Geremonty Drive facility over the years.
"She's known for her infectious smile and her willingness to always lend a hand," Dolloff said. "Ann truly exhibits the concern, involvement and leadership in Salem that Chief Ganley exemplified."
Lally was heavily involved in the club's capital campaign, which resulted in the renovation of the popular teen center, and has been a great supporter of Club fundraisers, including the annual auction and golf tournaments.
The award named in honor of former Salem town manager and police Chief John P. Ganley, who died in 1989, is presented each St. Patrick's Day to a local individual who demonstrates qualities Ganley personified: leadership, compassion, community involvement and inspiration to others.
Monday afternoon's festivities included speeches by state and local dignitaries, musical performances by "Singing Trooper" Daniel Clark and the N.H. State Police Association Pipe & Drum troupe, and a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner.
The annual event drew a crowd of roughly 320 people, with guests including Gov. Maggie Hassan, former Mass. Sen. Scott Brown, Senate President Chuck Morse, Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, Salem town officials, police officials from around the region and past Ganley Award recipients.
Former Ganley Award recipient Michael Collins served as the event's master of ceremonies on Monday. Collins received the award in 2010.
The crowd rose in a standing ovation as Hassan took to the podium, where the governor joked around with audience members before offering Lally her well wishes.
"It's great to be in Salem straddling the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts," she said with a grin. "But enough about Scott Brown."
Motioning across the room to Morse, Hassan noted that "it was a tough week for both of us," referring to the recent House rejection of the casino bill.
"Don't worry, we've crafted a plan to save (Rockingham Park)," she added. "It's not without risk and will no doubt bring some nefarious characters to Salem."
"That's right, we're moving the state Legislature there," she quipped.
When the moment came to praise Lally, however, the governor wasn't joking around.
"This club brightens lives," Hassan said. "What young people need more than anything is to have some grown-ups in their corner. Ann's work as the bank's president speaks for itself, but she's done so much more."
Club officials and the governor noted that perhaps one of Lally's most laudable achievements was the creation of the Hidden Jewel Awards, which honor area women for their community contributions.
"Like Ann, these are the folks who are working under the radar and are usually behind the scenes," Hassan said.