Weathersfield presents leadership awards

WEATHERSFIELD – Local and former township residents were recognized for their contributions and services to Weathersfield and its residents.

Honored at the August trustees meeting with the Weathersfield Community Leadership Award was fire Capt. Raymond Knepper Sr. and, honored posthumously, Joseph Seaborn Jr., Lydia F. Infante and Joseph O. Lane.

Started in 2013, the award is given annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the community. Recipients’ names are engraved on the plaque outside the township administration building.

Trustee Chairman Gil Blair said the trustees have received many names of people to be considered for the award, both those who have served the community in the past and those serving currently.

“When you listen to all the accomplishments of those being honored, it is amazing all that they have done… We honor those who have gone before us and those who continue to serve,” Blair said.

Honorees are:

  • Joseph Seaborn came to Weathersfield at age 6 with his parents. He was a high school math teacher, principal and superintendent of Weathersfield Schools, retiring in 1967 with 35 years in education and 26 as superintendent.

The elementary school was named for him as was a street located by the high school. He was involved with supporting many school programs and events.

“He got the community off to a good foundation and played a key role in getting utilities and street lights to the township and helping to establish the volunteer fire department,” Trustee Marvin McBride said.

  • Lydia Infante came to the United States in 1936 from Italy. She and her husband ran an auto parts business in Niles. After her husband died, she took over the business while also raising two children, retiring in 1993 after 33 years.

She served many years as a community volunteer, including as a member of the Weathersfield Zoning Appeals Board. Infante was also known for the cookies she made for community events.

Fiscal Officer Fred Boboynk said Lydia was one of the first women to run a traditionally male business and would say to people that life made her a liberated woman before it was fashionable to be one.

  • Joseph Lane was a longtime community businessman who owned and operated Lane Funeral Home. He donated money to Weathersfield Schools and had the sports complex by the high school named for him.

He received many honors, awards and accommodations both locally and nationally over the years and served in the U.S. Army. Lane was a longtime Farmers National Bank board of directors.

  • Raymond Knepper became a member of the Weathersfield Fire Department in 1988 and when the Mineral Ridge and McKinley Heights departments merged he became a station fire captain in 1990.

In May 2007, Knepper helped rescue a man trapped in a house on Poplar Avenue in Niles. The house was on fire and he risked his life to get the man out as firefighters were on their way. He received much recognition and awards including the Trumbull County National Night Out Person of the Year 2007.

Fire Chief Randy Pugh said, “He is an outstanding example of what a captain does. He has maintained the fire station so successfully.”

  • Firefighter Chris Streamo was presented a certificate of recognition for his recent work coordinating the training for the “live burn” for the township fire department and for securing training personnel from the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Officials said the burn practice took place this summer in the township