On Tuesday, State Senator Tom O’Mara honored Pauline “Polly” Holbrook, a longtime stalwart of civic affairs in the city of Hornell and the Canisteo Valley, as his 2019 New York State Senate “Woman of Distinction.”
Holbrook joined more than 60 other honorees representing senatorial districts from throughout New York State.
“Pauline Holbrook exemplifies a commitment to family, community and country that highlights her recognition this year as a ‘Woman of Distinction,’” O’Mara said. “From childhood, she was instilled with a strong sense of citizenship that she has passed on to her own family and that has guided her, for over six decades, to enjoy a remarkable standing within the Hornell community and across the Canisteo Valley. She has remained devoted to a life’s work of raising her family and serving her community as a teacher, and a tireless and giving friend, neighbor and volunteer. It has been a life well lived, and I am truly looking forward to this opportunity to pay her a well-deserved and well-earned tribute of appreciation and gratitude.”
“When I first saw Senator O’Mara’s nomination form, I immediately thought of Pauline Holbrook,” said Mike Palmesano, Vice Chair of the City of Hornell Republican Committee, who nominated Holbrook for this year’s award. “Her life’s story of dedication and community service reads like a history book. As a veteran myself, I am especially proud to have nominated her for her service during World War Two by entertaining our soldiers and promoting government war bonds. She is unparalleled in her service and dedication to our community and surrounding areas. Her long record of volunteering is most noteworthy. I am proud to have Mrs. Holbrook as an active member of our City of Hornell Republican Committee and as a dear friend.”
A daughter of Irish immigrants born in Schenectady, New York, Holbrook and her older sister were featured Irish Dancers promoting United States government war bonds.
Following her graduation from Syracuse University, she married William J. Holbrook and the couple settled and raised six children in Hornell – where the late Judge Holbrook is remembered as a longtime City Attorney and City Court Judge (as well as a decorated U.S. Navy veteran, and founder and past commander of the local Naval Reserve), and where Polly remains a stalwart of civic affairs.
According to her bio, Holbrook has been involved in many community associations, activities and achievements over the past six decades includes many with which she remains actively involved. These include the American Association of University Women/Alfred University Chapter (where she recently received the 65-Year Award), St. James Mercy Hospital, St. Gerard’s Guild, Steuben ARC Board of Directors, Hornell Arts Council, the Ladies of Columbus, Fortnightly Women’s Book Club, Meals on Wheels, and the Hornell American Legion Post 440.
The Senate’s annual “Women of Distinction” program, which began in March to coincide with Women’s History Month in New York State, allows senators statewide to select one honoree from their respective legislative districts for this distinguished, statewide tribute.