|APRIL 2006 --
"Dorothy is the most wonderful person," her friend Debra Hanny said.
The Litchfield Grange has voted Anderson the Grange Citizen of the Year and will gather in her honor at 7:30 p.m. on April 30, at the grange building, 453 Bantam Road.
"(Anderson was selected for) the many things she does for society in and outside of the community in the U.S. and throughout," Litchfield Grange Secretary Janet Healy said.
The grange is a nonpartisan social organization founded by farmers in the late 1800s originally as an agricultural organization, and now works to fight for open space legislation, Healy said.
Groups are at national, state, county and local levels, and the Litchfield Grange works mostly toward saving farmland for open space and promoting community involvement, Healy said.
Each year, members on the grange nominate and vote on local people in the community for the award by choosing someone who works for the community and goes beyond normal duties without recognition, Healy said.
Anderson was nominated in January in large part because of her involvement in Helping Other People (HOPE) through her membership in the First Congregational Church of Litchfield, Healy said.
HOPE was started by Anderson six years ago and is a mission project of the church that helps people of all backgrounds and religions in more than 14 communities throughout the state, Anderson said.
The project has two missions, the first accepts donated stuffed animals that are cleaned, packaged and mailed to children in hospitals, orphanages, and sent to children who have been taken into police custody or are sick or injured, Hanny said.
More than 4,700 stuffed animals have gone to children, including 600 to kids in Iraq and a few hundred to children on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, Anderson said.
"She does so much good for everyone," Hanny said.
Hanny has worked with Anderson in collaboration with the project by knitting sweaters, hats and scarves for the stuffed animals to wear, Anderson said.
Anderson said she ran a bed and breakfast inn for about 10 years and many of the individuals who have stayed at her business continue to donate stuffed animals from around the country.
Two freezers full of food prepared by people who donate are always available, which she and the other members of the project bring to those who may need a few days to get re-established after events like medical procedures or other short-term times of trouble or stress, Anderson said.
More than 2,500 containers of food have been donated to the project, Anderson said.
"People don’t realize there is a need (for support) right here in our community," Anderson said. "I have a lot of support, but I wish I could do more."
The mission is done in conjunction with the church, but is not just for church members, Anderson said.
When the grange first contacted Anderson about the award, Anderson said she was stunned and felt she didn’t deserve it.
"Janet said ‘yes you do’ and I am so honored, so proud," Anderson said.
Healy said the Litchfield Grange was happy to give Anderson the award.
"(Anderson is) one little person in the confines of the church that does such a great deal," Healy said.
The award presentation will be followed by a musical program of stringed instruments headed by Myrtle Hayden of Sharon and is open to the public, Healy said.
Friends are welcome to come and speak about Anderson if they wish, Healy said.