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Former county extension office director honored

September 16, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - He was a familiar face to the agricultural community for more than three decades, but John Z. Shearer has also worked behind the scenes volunteering to help people across Franklin County, in Chambersburg and around his neighborhood.

Shearer, the Franklin County Extension director from 1960 to 1993, was named the recipient of the 2008 Mike Waters Citizen of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to a person who has during the year, or during their lifetime, exemplified the commitment to serving the community displayed by the late Mike Waters, his son Donald Waters said.

In Shearer's case, that included more than five decades with the Kiwanis Club, reading to Head Start children, volunteering to drive people to medical appointments and working with Meals on Wheels.

Waters, who presented the award with his mother Virginia, said Shearer also serves as "the superintendent of buildings and grounds" for seven or eight neighbors with special needs, making sure their sidewalks and driveways are shoveled of snow, their lawns mowed and properties attended to.

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"I've enjoyed doing volunteer work all my life," said Shearer, who also helped organize the Franklin County Fair in the 1960s, and later the annual Farm-City Week.

"We get to make a living. We give to make a life," Shearer said, quoting Winston Churchill.

Mike Waters served the Chambersburg community in many capacities, including as a member of the borough's Planning and Civil Service Commissions, the Chambersburg Community Improvement Association, Downtown Chambersburg and other organizations. At the time of his death eight years ago, Waters was a member of 25 community committees and organizations.

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