In a ceremony last week attended by many of the volunteers he has worked with over the years in a variety of organizations, Greg Orcutt of West Tisbury received the “Spirit of the Vineyard” award.
“Greg embodies what it means to be civic-minded,” West Tisbury library director Beth Kramer said in remarks November 14 at The Grill on Main Street in Edgartown. “He is truly interested in and cares about what happens in our community.”
Ms. Kramer was speaking from experience. She has worked with Mr. Orcutt, treasurer of the West Tisbury Library Foundation which successfully raised funds for the library’s renovation project, just one of his many volunteer positions.
The award, sponsored by Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, is given to recognize and honor members of the Vineyard community for the depth and breadth of their volunteer efforts on the Island. Mr. Orcutt, general manager of local radio station WMVY, was born and raised on the Island and now lives with his wife in West Tisbury.
“My old friend Kerry Alley, who is on the board of Hospice and a previous winner, told me about the award,” Mr. Orcutt said in a conversation with the Times. “I didn’t know I had been nominated. It must have been a slow year.”
Mr. Alley was Mr. Orcutt’s eighth-grade teacher at the old Edgartown Junior High School. They reconnected when Mr. Orcutt returned to work on the Island at WMVY radio 11 years ago.
“Greg was a dutiful student and is still doing some pretty good things,” Mr. Alley said.
The station sponsors the annual Big Chili Contest, a benefit for the Red Stocking Fund, of which Mr. Alley is co-chairman. Mr. Orcutt jumped in to help. It was just the beginning of his Island public service work.
“I have a lot of fun doing it,” Mr. Orcutt said. “It is a nice way to meet other people in the community, and living in a small community when you do something you can see an immediate effect.”
It wasn’t long before he began helping with the Chowder Contest, which in turn led to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, the West Tisbury Library and other things.
“Volunteering is a wonderful thing,” he said. “It is something we need to do and should do. I think that this is what the award is about.”
Mr. Orcutt said that the award is all the more meaningful to him because of who is giving it. “Hospice must have the hardest job of all the volunteer organizations on the Island,” he said. “What they give back to people during the worst possible times of their lives is wonderful. What means the most to me is they are recognizing me and I think so much of them.”
In addition to Ms. Kramer, State representative Tim Madden, Mr. Alley, and HabitatMV president Doug Ruskin spoke at the event.
Mr. Ruskin said that while most of the volunteer time at Habitat goes into construction, “which is not Greg’s strong suite, what he does is in some ways even more important, the little-heralded background work that all nonprofits need to stay alive.”
Mr. Ruskin ended his remarks by noting Mr. Orcutt’s humility. “Greg’s just one of those guys who quietly makes a difference in the community and doesn’t think it’s a big deal. He told me he was embarrassed to be getting this award. Thank you, Greg.”