HUDSON — City Council President Bill Wooldredge thought he was appearing on Hudson Community Television to share an update on what was happening in town, but it turned out he was in for a pleasant surprise.
Wooldredge joined City Manager Jane Howington on Wednesday to tape a segment on HCTV’s "Good Day in Hudson" program with host Frank Youngwerth.
Toward the end of the interview, Youngwerth threw a curve ball and presented Wooldredge with the Good Day in Hudson Citizen of the Year award.
"You’ve been a real star in this community," said Youngwerth to Wooldredge.
Wooldredge’s wife, Johanna, presented the plaque to her husband.
Wooldredge thanked Youngwerth and noted, "I really appreciate it. You really took me by surprise."
Before he gave Wooldredge the Citizen of the Year plaque, Youngwerth highlighted some of Wooldredge’s accomplishments: a business career where he was either a CEO or CFO of several companies; founding president and chairman of the Hudson Community Foundation; president of the Hudson Economic Development Corporation for 10 years; chairman of the board at Akron Children’s Hospital for three years, and still a board member today; member of Hudson Rotary; and a city council member for the last 10 years. Wooldredge is currently the council president.
Howington praised Wooldredge for his many contributions to the community.
"There are so many things that this gentleman does to give back," said Howington during the taping. She called Wooldredge a "phenomenal mentor," and a "very wonderful person."
Following the taping, Wooldredge shared a few thoughts with the Hub-Times on receiving the honor.
"I just love Hudson, love living here," said Wooldredge. "… It’s a great community in which if you want to give back, you can."
After retiring from a 40-year business career, Wooldredge said he decided to embark on "a life of service" which he called "a faith-based decision."
Wooldredge cited his work with the Hudson Community Foundation as an endeavor that he is particularly proud of.
"It’s been wonderful to see what you can do with something like [the Foundation]," said Wooldredge. "It offers opportunities to give money back in other ways."
He noted not many people know about the work of the Foundation.
"[The Foundation’s] grown to about $20 million," said Wooldredge. "We aspire to have it much bigger than that some day. It does a lot of great things in Hudson and it provides a wonderful way for people who live in Hudson to give back to the community."
Youngwerth added he’s known Wooldredge for a long time and observed, "I think that we have the same feeling about giving back."
Wooldredge’s education, career
Wooldredge graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, Ma. in 1955 and attended Yale University for a year before entering the U.S. Army and serving at Fort Devens and Camp Drum. He then attended and graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Wooldredge graduated from Harvard Business School in 1964.
In his career, Wooldredge worked for firms such as Sun Oil Co., Insurance Company of America, B.F. Goodrich Co., TransOhio Savings Bank and Kings Medical Co. Wooldredge has been an active member at Christ Church Episcopal, Evangelical Covenant Church and now serves as an Elder at Hudson Presbyterian Church.
Program will premiere on Dec. 2
The first airing of the "Good Day in Hudson" program in which Wooldredge received the award is Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. The program will also air on: Dec. 4, 6, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m; Dec. 3 and 5 at 11 p.m.; Dec. 16, 18, 20 and 21 at 9 p.m.; and Dec.17 and 19 at 4 p.m.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.