Thank You all for making the AO Reunion possible!


I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the many, many people who contributed to making the AO Reunion of May 28th, 2002 a successful and memorable event! There were over 500 people who attended the AO Reunion Luncheon at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center. Furthermore, many others joined those who were at the luncheon to partake in the day’s activities.


My gratitude and special thanks go to the following committee members, who gave of their time to make this happen:


Rebecca Brogan, Dave Butler, Cindy Capillo, Judy Ferguson, Ron Ferguson,Gabriel McCarthy, Mike Montigny, John Salce, Norm Weiner, Dave Whigham, and Peg Whitney. A special thanks as well to Margo Fontaine, who was invaluable in her assistance in pulling the entire event together!


Others who also assisted behind the scenes included: Marge Breen, David Cunnifffe, Arthur Fontaine, Margaret Morrissey, Amanda Brogan, Bethany Robidas, Nancy Jolin, Bob Haynes, Don Nass, Bill Nass, Christopher Whitney, Erica Whitney and Jan Whitney.


Special thanks to Jennifer Beyor, Bernadette Coyer and Kim Cameron and the entire Staff of the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center are in order. They did an outstanding job, and put much effort into making the event go so smoothly. The meals and service were outstanding! Ron Recchino and Franklin Reality were most helpful in the planning of many aspects of that day, and the assistance received was most appreciated. My gratitude to all !


During the AO Reunion celebration, John Van Dyke, representing American Optical Capital Corp., and Steve Brady (Southbridge Historical Commission) re-dedicated three AO Plaques that will be returned to their original place at the foot of the Marble Staircase;this, and other AO Reunion events, will be reported in more detail in future SEN History columns. Their participation in this historic event made the event especially symbolic.


The massive advance publicity donated by the Southbridge News / Stonebridge press should not go unrecognized. The turnout would not have been as great, had it not been for their publications in all of the Stonebridge Press newspapers throughout the region. Thank you Tim Kane and the Stonebridge Press!


In order to provide the many extras that were evidenced that day, a number of businesses contributed money /items to help fund the event:



AO Eyewear Inc.


Coldwell Banker(Lucie Lemke)

Cormier Jewelers

Lensmaster Optical Co.

Ideal Pools

Mario's Ristorante

Morse Lumber


Mary Kay - Peg Whitney

Schott Fiber Optics

Southbridge Savings Bank

Southbridge Livery / Martel Cleaners

Sovereign Bank

Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center

Dewey J. Tiberii, DMD

Village Photo

Christine O’Brien


Finally, I wish to thank the people from this community for coming together and showing their support on this day. I was truly proud to have people from across the country(and from France) return to Southbridge and see the improvements to both the “AO” complex and the Town.I wish all of you could share in witnessing their amazement over the many positive improvements evident since their last visit to the area.


Thanks again for your support!


Dick Whitney

AO Reunion Committee Chairperson


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