Southampton's People of the Year

10 people who made an impact in eastern Southampton in 2011.

Like Time magazine names a Person of the Year each December, Patch decided to find out who readers think are Southampton's People of the Year. Here are 10 people who had a great year, or did great things for the community this year. And you can help name the Reader's Choice by voting in the poll below.

Here's how the voting will work: From now until Dec. 31 at noon, we will be taking your vote by poll (It's anonymous). Just sign-in and click the person you think is most deserving. Only vote once (otherwise, what's the fun?). In addition, feel free to leave a note in the comments as to why that person deserves the recognition. 

Bob Chaloner, the president & CEO of , is a Person of the Year for stabilizing the hospital since he took the helm five years ago and "putting it on the road to becoming one of the best community hospital's in the region."

Roseann Gentile of  is a Person of the Year for dedicating so much of her free time to helping students, for many, many years. "You can find students both current and from 20 years ago plus, including myself who will attest to her warmth, generosity and reliability," Gentile's nominator wrote. "She has aided in countless programs both in and out of school including roller skating, school plays in both the middle and high schools, the , 5Ks, Christmas gift drives and volunteering" at . "She is not only a wonderful asset to the local schools but to the entire community, as well as an amazing mother and friend to many people."

John v.H. Halsey, the president of , is a Person of the Year because he has "devoted his life to perservation of open space, natural land and working farms on the East End — all of the things that make us who we are as a community. It’s our heritage and our legacy to the next generation that John has worked tirelessly for since he started the Trust in 1982. ... His influence is felt from Washington, D.C., to Albany, to the local towns and villages, to the farmers and landowners for whom he works. A current project of the Trust, and one of John’s personal passions, is keeping farmland affordable and accessible for the next generation of new and young farmers who want to get into agriculture on the East End but find the cost of land prohibitive."

, a former Southampton Town supervisor and to reclaim the job, is a Person of the Year for being Southampton's "Comeback Kid." She waged "a very viable write-in campaign after a stint in the political graveyard due to a a couple of years ago."

Mary Ann Tupper, the executive director of , is a Person of the Year for her dedication to Southampton's neediest. Human Resources provides clothing, food, heating assistance and more.

, an activist for gay rights, among other causes, is a Person of the Year for her dedication to making a difference. According to her nominator, she "was a mover and shaker and rain maker helping the citizens of New York State take the much needed and long delayed moral leap to for all. Look at any progressive campaign or cause vital to democracy on the East End and you will find Lisa not only involved but providing leadership, courage and a great role model for young people. Lisa is active with the Eastern Long Island Branch of the NAACP under the able leadership of veteran freedom fighter, Lou Ware. She has been a stalwart organizer in Democratic politics and has represented women and young people in the Southampton Anti-Bias Task Force. Lisa's husband, Matauqus, is a activist."

Katherine Wilson, who provides care to both wild and domesticated animals, is a Person of the Year for selflessly giving to animal causes, personally caring for injured deer, nursing feral cats back to health and volunteering with the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Rescue and Ducks Unlimited, and much more. "She is not afraid of any wild animal and will do whatever it takes to get the animal treated and back to its natural state in the wild," Wilson's nominator wrote. "Katherine always has the animals best interest at heart and has left her house at 3 a.m. to respond to an animal in distress call. She is absolutely brilliant and her love and respect of animals is most admirable!"

Anna Throne-Holst, the supervisor of Southampton Town, is a Person of the Year for steering the town through a recession and, when it came time for her re-election campaign, no one even wanted to attempt to get on the ballot to challenge her.

Kathleen King Friedman, the owner and founder of , is a Person of the Year because in 2011 she was recognized multiple times for her entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy. The Pioneer Chapter of Hadassah in Westhampton, a Jewish woman's organization, named Friedman its Woman of the Year. Girls Incorporated

Brenda Simmons, a co-founder of the African-American Museum of the East End, is a Person of the Year for all her good works and accomplishments in Southampton Village and the greater area. Simmons has her own show on LTV called "Voices of Wisdom," is a life coach for young women, and a mentor for inmates at the Riverhead Correctional Facility. She from Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman in March during the unveiling of the sign at the museum's future home.

Hank Murray-Brown December 31, 2011 at 08:41 PM
So Lisa admits to trying to vote for herself multiple times and posting a link on Facebook. So what is the point? There is no honor, no achievement. It's not something to be proud of. It should be "Who Is The Vainest Person?" Linda, if it "doesn't matter who wins" why are you trying so hard to win? My guess it'll go on your resume tomorrow--"Voted Person Of the year!" Without mentioning you rigged the vote. Like I said -- a joke, an embarrassment. Wake up Southampton, in East Hampton there are 40,000 votes. Five candidates have mastered the autovote mechanism --one got 1000 votes in a matter of hours. Lisa do your homework you'll win by a landslide!
Lisa Votino-Tarrant December 31, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Hank, I admitted that my husband wanted to vote and Google Chrome wouldn't let him. He always uses Internet Explorer, so when he clicked on this article in ie it let him vote, but then didn't show him the results. It was an observation and for the Editor's info. I also don't get how someone gets upset because I posted a FB link to an ONLINE ONLY publication? Are you completely dismissing the other people who wrote comments for me and other people who live in Southampton? Mary Ann does amazing work in our community. The truth is that she, all the other nominees and all the people out there who try to make our community special but didn't have their names listed here, are awesome people. I don't understand why anyone is taking an online poll so seriously?! It was fun. It was nice to be recognized for the work I've done. I was glad to see people I admire also be nominated and gleeful that there were names I didn't recognize. Stop worrying about something so trivial and worry about MUCH bigger, more important things! It's New Year's Eve, go celebrate and have a great 2012!
Laura Green January 03, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Lisa, if you dont care about winning why did you continue to repost your facebook plea many times begging "friends" to vote for you and fan the flames by not informing them of the controvery. Letting people think its ok to vote for you when it shouldnt be open to them in the first place only hilites your lack of ethics in this. Its all about your vanity. Unlike other nominees you dont have a sustaining passion for the group or issue you focus on. You pick the hot topic of the moment and jump on an existing hard-working bandwagon to glory ride-needing to be at the front of the parade and in every picture. For example, gay rights has been an issue for decades. When things come to a head you decide to join in and work it at rallies and press conferences, as if you’ve been out there pushing hard for years. When the bill goes through, there you are getting your ego stroked for all you did to make it happen. Besides your husband's blood rights, what east Southampton issues have you worked on not just as flavor of the month. ALL other nominees have made the type of difference you haven’t - out there every day because they care about the community not about the recognition. Working hard on a lot of issues with big groups doesn't necessarily make you an activist, it just makes you look like one. The vote is skewed and everyone should know it. Even with all your fb friends voting you barely beat out Mary Ann or Roseann who got local votes from people whose lives they’ve touched.
Lisa Votino-Tarrant January 03, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Laura, have we met? You seem to have an huge grudge against me & I have no idea who you are. I guess it's really easy to throw insults at someone through a message board. You sit here questioning my ethics - from an online poll - & access to my FB page (which is weird considering there is no one named Laura Green on my friend's list)? Really, you have no better way to spend your time? Would you like to get coffee one day? If you still didn't like me at least then you could say you gave it a go! Right now you just seem like some weird, bitter person acting like a child in something that should have been fun. I have worked on plenty of issues out here, many of which I do in the background, so obviously it's NOT about the attention. A lot of the things I have worked on have been on a broader scale, but have affected people who live here. Do you see me bragging anywhere? I do what I do for two reasons - 1) to make our world a better place and 2) To know that at the end of the day when I go to bed, I did something good. I'm 32-years-old, how long could I have possibly been doing anything?! A bulk of my adult life has been living here and working as an organizer. And I didn't become an organizer for money or for glory, but to hopefully make our world a little better. As far as this whole local v. some other random place you think my votes came from - How do you know where my votes came from? All votes came directly from people chancing upon this site? This is just silly.
Corrin January 03, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I have known Lisa Votino since I believe 1992 or 1993 when we met in junior high school. Then, we were not friends (we were just in different social circles) even at the age of 13, Lisa was already making the world a better place. Now, at the age of 32, I am honored to call Lisa a friend. I think so highly of her that last year, while revising my will, I discussed the possibility of leaving custody of my daughter to Lisa . My daughter has special needs so the question of who would care for her in my place is daunting. During my daughter's frequent hospitalizations, Lisa has driven to Stonybrook to make a sick little girl's life a little brighter and in doing so, has helped me greatly. If you have never actually met her, Lisa tries to make the world a better place, everyday. She is the kind of person that I wish I had it in myself to be. She is the kind of person I would like my daughter to have as a role model. There is a saying, "Adversity introduces a man to himself." I believe adversity introduces us to our true friends. Adversity reintroduced me to Lisa Votino, a true friend to me and a true asset to her community. In closing, because I suspect it may come up, I did not vote in this poll for Lisa. I was actually unaware of her nomination until reading her Facebook wall earlier tonight. I felt moved to post here only because I hate seeing someone who does so much for so many without ever asking for anything in return being falsely maligned.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »