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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Ashland launches inaugural “Community Hero Award” Izzy Assencoa and Joanne Duffy receive posthumously

By Theresa Knapp
Igidio “Izzy” Assencoa and Joanne Duffy have each received, posthumously, one of Ashland’s first Community Hero Awards. Both recipients died in 2023. 
“On behalf of the Council on Aging, we could not have two more appropriate and deserving recipients of the inaugural COA Community Hero Award,” announced Ashland Council on Aging Vice Chair Steve Mitchell at the Jan. 17 meeting of the Select Board. 
Mitchell said the purpose of this new award “is to recognize and acknowledge Ashland seniors who have demonstrated public service and volunteerism in support of the Ashland community; and individuals, groups, and/or organizations who have demonstrated and supported advocacy for Ashland seniors regardless of age or residency.” 
Mitchell and COA Chair John “Fran” Blake presented the awards to the families of Assencoa and Duffy. 

Jan. 18, 2024, was “Izzy Assencoa Day” in the Town of Ashland
Igidio “Izzy” Assencoa 
Mitchell said, “Izzy served on the Ashland Board of Registars for 24 years, the Ashland Council on Aging for 17 years, and the Ashland Democratic Committee for 31 years. He was a proud member of the Ashland Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus, and the Friends of the Council on Aging…This is a man who spent his life in volunteerism.” 
Select Board Chair Robert Scherer presented a proclamation declaring Jan. 18, 2024, as “Izzy Assencoa Day” in the Town of Ashland. 

Igidio “Izzy” Assencoa (d. 2023) was one of two recipients of Ashland’s inaugural Community Hero Award. Source:


Joanne Duffy (d. 2023) was one of the first two recipients of Ashland’s Community Hero Award. Source:


Jan. 19, 2024, was “Joanne Duffy Day” in the Town of Ashland

Joanne Duffy

Mitchell said, “Joanne Duffy served the Town of Ashland for 25 years, including 20 years as the Director of the Ashland Community Center. Joanne’s office door was always open and she always had a smile…And I’ve just got fond memories of going into the Center and walking into her office and we would just gossip and it was good, we had a lot of fun…We talked about grandkids a lot, and we talked about dogs.” 

Select Board Chair Robert Scherer presented a proclamation declaring Jan. 19, 2024, as “Joanne Duffy Day” in the Town of Ashland. 

A Community Hero plaque will be kept at the Ashland Community Center. 

For more information about the award, including a nomination form, visit