Falmouth posthumously honors Citizen of the Year

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FALMOUTH — Mayer Fistal, described as a beloved, active volunteer who truly cared about people and the town, was posthumously named Citizen of the Year.

Town Council Chairman Caleb Hemphill said there were three separate nominations for Fistal, who died last November at 81 after a brief illness.

The Citizen of the Year award annually honors individuals who have made an “exceptional contribution to the community and (provided) positive examples of citizenship,” according to the town website.

The recipient is chosen by the Town Council and this year Fistal was picked over several other candidates, according to Hemphill.

One of Fistal’s three nominations came from Erin Cadigan, who is coordinating the town’s 300th anniversary festivities for next year.

Cadigan met Fistal when they were both volunteering at the Falmouth Memorial Library. Fistal was then appointed to the Tercentennial Planning Committee and that’s when the two became fast friends, she said.

“I nominated Mayer because I thought he was fabulous,” Cadigan said this week. “He was pretty amazing and an all-around great guy.” She said Fistal not only became a good friend, but a mentor.

“I’m thrilled he got” the award, Cadigan said, adding, “he really embodied” the attributes of Citizen of the Year.

“We all miss him,” she said. “He was thoughtful, sharp as a tack and really listened.” What he most enjoyed, she said, was bringing people together, and he was good at it.

Fistal’s “love of people and innate kindness made him a force for good in the Falmouth community,” Cadigan said.

Councilor Karen Farber, who presented the award to Fistal’s widow, Shari, during a special ceremony June 28, said although he was from away, “Mayer truly became a part of the fabric of the community.”

Farber said after moving to Falmouth from New Jersey in 2006, Fistal “just dove right in. He was a constant volunteer and a fixture at the library and the historical society.”

“One of the things that struck everyone,” she said, “is that he was always there, doing the work and being fully engaged. He took a genuine interest in other people and really listened.”

Farber added that all three of the nominations for Fistal “were very heartfelt” and it’s clear that he was “well loved.”

She said while it’s a bit unusual to give the Citizen of the Year award to someone who has died, it’s not unprecedented.

In addition to his volunteer work in Falmouth, Fistal was a member of the committee that designed the new Martin’s Point Bridge, which opened in 2014. He also served on the Cumberland County Extension Association board.

Fistal also worked with Fire Chief Howard Rice on updating the history of the town’s Fire Department.

This week Rice said Fistal “was a great choice. He did a lot for the Fire Department, was a frequent visitor and really cared for the crews.”

Rice said in addition to donating a pet oxygen mask to the department, Fistal also provided awards for the live-in fire students – $100 gift certificates to the Book Review bookstore.

“He was just a really thoughtful guy and a nice man, who always pushed us to improve,” Rice said.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

Mayer Fistal