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  • by Tom Eastman

An Unsung Heroine

The Boston Bruins, their fans, and Channel 38 annually present the 7th Player Award to the team member deemed to be the most over looked and under-rated of the squad. If visitors and local businesspersons awarded a similar Unsung Hero honor to the hardest working and most overlooked resort worker here in Mt. Washington Valley, Carol Westervelt would lead the list of candidates.

A doer from the word go, Carol is the organizational glue that holds the offices of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce together. Officially given the title of Administrative Assistant, the 51-year-old mother of three is primarily responsible for coordinating and directing the Chamber's staff, office, and information services. Her actual duties extend far past that realm, however.

"Basically, I'm like a production manager," Carol explained over a cup of coffee last week. "My biggest asset is that I know a lot of people here in the Valley, and I know who to call when we need volunteer help in putting on an event."

Lining up that volunteer corps of helpers and organization planning are the two key aspects of Carol's job. Examples of her organizational skills include working with Joe Johnston of New England Inn as co-chairman of the Winterfest committee, when she was responsible for making contacts with racers of the Women's Pro Race Tour and the Peugeot Grand Prix; lining up a calendar of events; and organizing the Race to Beat Cancer.

In addition, Carol lined up prizes for each event, as well as the volunteers to keep track of the times and help with the organization of many of the events. Even with the best laid plans, however, there's always the possibility that Murphy's Law will come into play, resulting in any one of a myriad of mess-ups. On those occasions, Carol is often the last line of defense.

"When the hot air balloonists were here for Winterfest, they tried and tried to go up during the day, but the weather conditions just weren't right," Carol related when asked to give an example of the times that try a coordinator's patience.

Unable to take to the air during the day, the balloonists asked if it might be possible to tether their colorful craft somewhere at night instead. "They decided to go up at night at the last minute," Carol said. "I called up the North Conway Fire Department and got them to show up with the generator to power some spotlights on the balloons. As I said," she continued. "you have to know who to call to get the job done."

Carol has been getting the job done for the Chamber since former executive director Mike Perlis offered her the position in 1980. Prior to that, she served for two years as associate sponsor coordinator for the Volvo International Tennis Tournament, and as an administrative assistant for the Chamber for a seven month period as a replacement for Beth Richards, who was on a leave of absence at the time.

A legal secretary locally, and a service representative for New Jersey Telephone Co. before becoming involved with the Chamber and Volvo, Carol has been active throughout the years in a number of community organizations here in the Valley. She does it for the enjoyment as much as she does our of any sense of civic responsibility.

"When you have to get up early anyway to wake your kids and get them to the ski slopes," Carol laughed, "you might as well do something since you're already up. Above all, we get involved because we all have a good time doing it."

Over the years, Carol has been a board member and past president of the North Conway Community Center and Mt. Washington Valley Chapter of American Field Service, secretary and past president of the Eastern Slop Ski Club, and member of the board of trustees of Mayhew. In addition, she has been a Girl Scout leader, a past member of the Conway Planning Board, Conway School District Building Committee, Conway School District Accountability Committee, and chairman of the Conway School District Redistricting Committee.

Joining Carol at Chamber functions as an unofficial Valley goodwill ambassador is her husband, Ed, a toll testman for NYNEX Telephone. Like Carol, Ed has maintained a high degree of visibility since moving to the Valley kn 1967, serving as the director of Vaughn Community Health, on the Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, and as director of both the Cranmore Ski Education Foundation and the Eastern Slope Ski Club.

Carol's best achievement? "I'd say pulling of [former Chamber director] Mike Hickey's surprise send-off party at the Red Jacket last month," she said with pride. "Even I was surprised that we were able to get that done without him finding out about it."

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