Jay and Karen Lucas honored for Newport revitalization efforts

In winning first Sylvio Dupuis Award, Sunshine Initiative announces expansion of efforts to Laconia, Rochester, Manchester
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From left, Jay Lucas and Karen Lucas of the Sunshine Initiative, Sylvio Dupuis and Tom Raffio. (Photo by Gil Talbot)

The energetic three-year effort by Jay and Karen Lucas, who applied to revitalize the town of Newport – Jay Lucas’ hometown – were recognized in June with the ExcellenceNorth Allance’s first Dr. Sylvio Dupuis Community Excellence Award, which recognizes innovative initiatives that benefit economic conditions, quality of life, education and public health in New Hampshire communities.

Thanks to the support of the Lucases’ Sunshine Initiative and support from town leaders, business owners and the general public, Newport has a renovated opera house, upgraded educational facilities and programs, a relaunched local newspaper and a reinvigorated town center.

In accepting the award, Lucas said, “As a native son of this community, it has long been my hope that we could revitalize Newport; all the ingredients for success were there, it just needed resources and new energy. I am confident that what works in Newport will work in cities and towns all over the state, region and country; and I would love to think we can replicate this success elsewhere.”

Lucas also announced similar Sunshine Initiative efforts in Laconia, Rochester and on Manchester’s West Side.

“Every individual and individual community has potential and deserves an opportunity to realize that potential; Karen and I wish to help guide that effort and raise the tides of success for countless communities in our state and region,” he said.

In fact, ExcellenceNorth Alliance – a regional nonprofit that offers support and expertise in the Baldrige method and similar systematic approaches to organizational improvement – will be working with the Lucases in their now-expanded Sunshine Initiative, said Anne Warner, ENA’s executive director.

“The development of this award exemplifies ENA’s purpose to help Northern New England organizations and communities develop, grow and sustainably prosper. We see examples of how community leaders, businesses and volunteers collaborate for the benefit of a community and believe that by supporting, recognizing, and sharing these stories, others across the state and region will be inspired to do the same.”

Dupuis, whose resume includes two terms as mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire health commissioner and being a college and nonprofit organization executive, among other roles, said the award reflects his belief that “serving others and making a real commitment to people and not things is the key to the success of these types of efforts. Having values and expressing a clear vision builds support which then builds capacity to make change and improve our communities.”

“Creating a vision, purpose and values along while promoting legal and ethical behavior is a wonderful descriptor of what is happening right now in Newport through the Sunshine Initiative, and it’s a terrific way to honor the lifelong efforts of Sylvio Dupuis,” said Tom Raffio, chair of ENA and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental.

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