From our friends at Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal
by David Shaw, Finger Lakes Times
Dave and Darlene Duprey devote much of their free time as volunteers for a variety of programs to benefit this Seneca County community.
For those efforts, the couple have been chosen as the 2023 recipients of the Henry C. Welles Award, which is named after the Waterloo druggist credited with the 1865 idea of setting aside a day to honor those who died in the Civil War. They will receive the award during a ceremony scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 26, kicking off the community’s Celebrate Commemorate weekend. The award will be presented in newly renovated Fatzinger Hall inside the Waterloo Library and Historical Society.
“The award is given to a person or persons who embody the character and commitment of the founder of Memorial Day,” explained Cyndi Park-Sheils, executive director of the Waterloo Library and Historical Society. “The award is given to someone who cares deeply for their community, giving the time and attention to Waterloo through service.
“The Dupreys have been longtime volunteers to the Celebrate Commemorate activities as well as many other organizations. Their passion for our community is commendable and we look forward to formally honoring them to kick off the Memorial Day weekend.”
“When Cindy called to say we were the recipients, we were totally taken aback for a few moments,” Dave said. “My next thought was how very happy I am to have my wife by my side. She does so much and has been with me every step of the way in all my endeavors.
“We feel very honored to be included along with past recipients of this award. They are the people I have looked up to, and to be listed with them is hard to wrap my head around.”
Darlene called it “very humbling” to be recognized and honored by the committee.
“I have enjoyed playing a part in promoting our wonderful community and preserving its history,” she said. “We have met wonderful people and made many friends through the committees that we have served on. Without them, this award would not be possible. We thank all of you.”
Dave Duprey served as an elected member of the Village Board for 20 years, including a few years as deputy mayor. He initiated the first Celebrate Commemorate on Memorial Day weekend in 2000, and has co-chaired that committee with Jane Shaffer for 20 years. The event partners with veterans organizations to celebrate and honor those who gave their lives so that our freedoms could be enjoyed.
The Dupreys have provided video and photos annually to document and promote Celebrate Commemorate, as well as the Waterloo History Book, Directory, and Walking Tour and Map. Together, they produced the multimedia map and tour on the village website and were members of the design committee for the mural on the back of the municipal building.
In 2002, the couple organized Waterloo In Bloom, a planted flower beautification project, and co-chaired it for 18 years. They were instrumental in the design and development of Vern’s Way and Memory Bank connecting the canal and downtown, Dempsey Park, and the village entrance welcome signs.
In 2005, using the music and lyrics of Tony Mullins, they produced the Memorial Day song and video, which has been promoted nationwide and viewed more than 250,000 times on YouTube. They were involved with organizing the Healing Field of Flags in 2006.
While trustee, Dave was chairman of the village comprehensive plan committee, supported development of Oak Island, and developed the village website. He was a member of the American Civil War Memorial Committee, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail Committee, and past president of the Waterloo Business and Professional Association.
They were members of the Real Christmas Committee since its beginning and were chosen as Honorary Angels in 2017.
Since 2019, they have been developing a YouTube channel (WaterlooNYTube) to share their collection of videos created over the past 30 years, many dedicated to Waterloo’s history.
They are active members of St. Francis and St. Clare Roman Catholic Parish and serve on the Pastoral Council and other committees.
Darlene helped organize the former St. Mary’s School Adopt A Student program, served on the Parents Club, and co-chaired the yearbook committee and Christmas Bazaar.