Candor Community Services has named Lou and Sue Heavenrich its Candor Citizens of the Year for 2019, and a public reception will be held in their honor on May 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Both Lou and Sue Heavenrich (the couple will be married 37 years in June) have earned the distinction in their own rights, according to a press release issued by Melvin Foster, president of the Candor Community Service Corporation.
Lou Heavenrich has volunteered for the Candor Emergency Squad for 30 years and has served two stints on its board. One of his prouder contributions was being involved as the organization moved out of debt.
“Lou’s commitment to providing emergency medical assistance has made many lives better over the years,” the press release states.
He has also been a supporter of the Candor St. Baldrick’s event for the nine years of its existence, shaving his head every year to raise money for childhood cancer research and earning the title Knight Commander for his 10 years total of service with St. Baldrick’s.
In the past he was a volunteer with the Candor Soccer Club and Tioga County Youth Soccer Association.
The Heavenriches met while teaching at the same school in Stowe, VT. They moved to Candor after Lou Heavenrich was transferred to Endicott for a position at IBM.
They have two sons who were homeschooled until fifth grade, then attended Candor schools. Sue Heavenrich said she developed a keen curiosity for the natural world while homeschooling her sons, which led to a lifelong exploration of the subject and the publication of multiple books and articles.
Sue Heavenrich has volunteered many ways at the Candor Free Library, where she was a library trustee for 17 years. She is a blogger and content manager for the library webpage. She has also been involved in the Friends of the Candor Free Library, and this past fall she was elected to serve as a Tioga County trustee on the Finger Lakes Library System board.
“She was a valuable member of the board and served as the secretary for many years,” said Fran Howe, now-retired longtime Candor Free Library director.
“She was always a woman full of ideas and enthusiasm for the library and library services,” Howe added, “and she did many volunteer projects working with children.”
Sue Heavenrich has been a passionate proponent of the Tai Chi for Seniors program in Candor; she organized it and has been the instructor for 11 years. Three of her former students are now teaching Tai Chi elsewhere.
“But probably what has gained her the most notice (or notoriety) is her role as town activist,” the press release states. “For years she has advocated and acted for open government, first amendment exercise, and environmental stewardship, in her occupation as a newspaper writer for several local papers, as well as in her role as an engaged citizen.”
In her latest book, “Diet for a Changing Climate: Food for Thought,” she collaborated with Christy Mihaly to investigate insects and invasive weeds as possible food sources. This book was included by The Nature Generation on its short list for the national Green Earth Book Award 2019.
“Dandelions are better than kale,” she proclaimed on a sunny morning while sipping tea with her husband at Firehouse Cafe in Candor. The whole first section of the book is dedicated to edible weeds.
The couple said they chose to stay in Candor simply because it became home to them.
“It’s our house,” said Sue Heavenrich; when people come up the road and see it, she said, they immediately know why they’re here.
“Sue has a little organic garden,” her husband added.
In their unique ways, they have both carved out a niche in Candor that no one else could fill, and they plan to continue calling it home.