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Reporter Editorial: Tut

Recently we’ve been reminded of someone in our midst who serves the Shelter Island community day-in-and-day-out, who helps his fellow residents and keeps them safe.

Seventy years ago, a young man joined the Shelter Island Fire Department. He was 18, a senior in high school. He’d been influenced by a friend who was a department member, and wanted to be a part of a community of volunteers who, for no pay, would be ready to answer the call in life and death situations.

That young man, Maurice “Tut” Tuttle, now 88, was recently honored for his 70 years of service to Shelter Island. He answered the fire whistle’s call, morning, noon and in the dead of night over the years, and served as a fire commissioner, treasurer for the Fire District, and in other official roles.

One of his greatest acts of service is being the person everyone turns to for fundraising and organizing duties, such as getting the Chicken Barbecue, the annual dinner and Country Fair up and running every year.

These events serve dual purposes, bringing funds into the Fire District and providing lasting testimony of a community coming together to celebrate Shelter Island, each other, and to have fun.

A harelegger, he’s seen enormous changes on Shelter Island and in the Fire District. When he joined as a volunteer, much of Hay Beach and Silver Beach were undeveloped, and the Island was still, in many ways, a fishing and farming community.

There were two Fire Departments, one for the Heights and one for the Center. Through all the large and small changes, Tut was a constant, steady presence in the department and in his hometown.

Congratulations, Tut. And thank you.

Hats off to the Highway Department

We salute the Shelter Island Highway Department employees who, under the expert leadership of Superintendent Brian Sherman, were out several times over the last two weeks when storms struck the Island, clearing roads of snow and ice and making sure downed power lines, tree limbs and other debris were cleared away safely.

It’s no easy thing to coordinate a snow removal event and see it through, and Mr. Sherman and the dedicated employees of his department deserve our thanks for a job well done.