The 14th Annual Middlesex Citizen Appreciation Day will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 6, at the Middlesex Fire Hall, located at 5537 Water St., Middlesex. The program is sponsored jointly by the Town of Middlesex, the Middlesex Heritage Group and the Middlesex Fire Department.
This year’s honorees include Darrell Bassett, one of the first female firefighters of the Middlesex Fire Department and Auxilian for 47 years; Carol Davis, an active volunteer and Middlesex librarian for 20 years; and Reverend James Uttley, who was the pastor of the Middlesex Baptist Church for 22 years.
Darrell Bassett, the daughter of Arline Jayne, was born May 26, 1949 in Penn Yan. She was raised by her grandparents, George and Ester Jayne and graduated from Dundee Central School in 1967. The next year she moved to Middlesex and April 21, 1969, she married Rodney Bassett. They had three children and six grandchildren and worked in retail for over 20 years. In addition, she worked in food service at Marcus Whitman. Darrell joined the Middlesex Fire Department in 1970, and became one of only six female firefighters in New York State at the time. She remained an active member of the Auxiliary after 47 years. Darrell was chosen as Fireman of the Year in 1979 and 1992.
Carol Smith Davis was born Sept. 24, 1938 in Colorado, daughter of Harold and Alice Smith. She married Ronald Davis June 7, 1958 and is the mother of Rebecca and John, grandmother of Sarabeth and Ames, sister of Emmett (Butch), Ken and Sidney Smith. She graduated from high school in Arizona. Carol has lived in the Vine Valley-Middlesex area since 1965. She has been an active member of the Middlesex Baptist Church and the LeTourneau Christian Camp. Carol has taught Sunday School classes, been a Deaconess at the church, served as Middlesex librarian for 20 years, assisted with the Middlesex Firemen’s dinners and volunteers with Middlesex Ambulance. She also welcomed “Fresh Air” Children from many years.
Rev. James M. Uttley Sr. was born July 24, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pa.. He attended the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania (now Philadelphia Biblical University), where he met Mary Jane Bott of York, Pa. they were married June 5, 1948, shortly after his graduation. He is the father of Jim Jr., Ruth, Becki, David and Daniel. Pastor Uttley went on to study and graduate from Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia. He became pastor of Bethel Community Church in Blackwood Terrace, N.J.. It was during his pastorate there that he and Mary Jane sensed God’s call for missionary service. In 1952, they went to Haiti, where they served for over 20 years. In 1971, Pastor Uttley and his family returned to New Jersey where he became pastor of Community Baptist Church in Neptune, N.J. In 1976 they accepted a call to pastor Middlesex Baptist Church, where they served for 22 years. In 1997, they moved to Naples, ministering as a pulpit supply of Naples Baptist Church, as well as continuing service as a visitation pastor for Middlesex Baptist. He is remembered as being a warm and loving Pastor throughout his service in Middlesex. In 2001 Pastor Uttley was honored with Philadelphia Biblical University’s lifetime achievement award.
The Middlesex Citizen Appreciation Day was initiated in 1973. In 2004, a group of citizens including Town Board members, businessmen and firemen established the program as an Annual Appreciation Day. To date, a total of 40 citizens have been honored.
The Middlesex Heritage Museum is located in the Town Hall at 1216 Route 245 in the Town of Middlesex, and specializes in local history. It is open on Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon.