Michael Colaneri receives Spirit award

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Michael Colaneri has been named the Spirit of the Vineyard recipient. —Courtesy Michael Colaneri

Honored for his extensive service within the Island community, this year’s recipient of the Spirit of the Vineyard Award is Islander Michael Colaneri. 

Colaneri has most notably aided in the Island’s affordable housing crisis, has served for years on the West Tisbury board of assessors, helped create a shellfish hatchery on the Island, and has spent 20-plus years as a volunteer member of the West Tisbury Fire Department. 

After graduating from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1964 and sent to Vietnam. He received the Air Medal for Heroism for his service in helping wounded troops. 

Following that service, Colaneri studied to become a physician assistant at Duke University, and spent more than 30 years at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital in the role. 

He also went to serve on Island veterans committees, and edited a book of antiwar letters by the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services founder, Milton Mazer. 

The work Colaneri has done stretches across various Island communities, and one of his most prevalent acts of service has been his work in the affordable housing crisis. 

He was a member of West Tisbury’s affordable housing committee, and helped create several affordable housing projects, including a three-home Habitat for Humanity pocket neighborhood at Bailey Park.

When reflecting on his award, Colaneri said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy.”

“The purpose of life is to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to be empathetic and sympathetic,” he said, quoting a popular phrase. “And to have it make some difference that you lived, and lived well.”

There will be a reception to honor Colaneri at the P.A. Club in Oak Bluffs on June 27, at 5 pm.

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Michael has given to our community in ways both large and small — most certainly a deserving recipient of the Spirit award. Thank you, Michael!

  2. If you’ve heard these terms unsung hero, political watchdog, speak truth to power you know and love Michael Colaneri. Thank you Michael.

  3. THANKS–GOOD THINGS HAPPEN–WOW-TO A TRUE ISLANDER-WHO HAS SPENT HIS LIFE HELPING ALL OF US IN MANY WAYS…THANK YOU MIKE 0LD FRIEND TRIP-

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