Making a difference has no age limit.
Margot Schwarz Weston, 99, was presented with the Spirit of the Vineyard award Saturday night in recognition of her decades of volunteering and community service. The award, now in its 17th year, is given out annually by Hospice of Martha's Vineyard and Vineyard Village at Home to honor individuals who work to enhance the Island in quiet ways.
“Martha’s Vineyard is a fabulous community,” said Polly Brown, who helped establish the award. “The reason is because . . . we help each other out.”
Mrs. Weston moved to the Island at the age of eight. She has a 1,000-hour pin for volunteering at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and currently splits her service time organizing and cataloging archives at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, doing office work for the ACE MV community education program, and assisting SCORE, a mentoring program for small businesses on the Island. Mrs. Schwarz also taught English as a second language and worked in the Vineyard Nursing Association offices.
The ceremony was held Saturday at the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club. Mrs. Weston’s father was one of the club’s founders, and she has been an active member all her life. She proofreads the club’s annual yearbook, and spent hundreds of hours updating and revising the directory. One of her projects at the museum is cataloging the yacht club records.
Margot Weston is “an extraordinary woman with a stature that has an inverse proportion to her height,” said museum executive director David Nathans, drawing smiles at the reference to Mrs. Weston’s diminutive size. “She thrives on being active and involved.”
Mr. Nathans and Mrs. Weston are neighbors, and he hosted her for Thanksgiving last year. His children, he said, “still remember [Mrs. Weston’s] joy and appreciation of that day.”
Susan Silk and Mike Goodell spoke about Mrs. Weston's contributions to SCORE and her organizational prowess. Mr. Goodell also pointed out that Mrs. Weston was born the year the Panama Canal opened, and had seen 17 presidents in office, a fact that drew a chorus of "Wow" from the audience.
Denys Wortman, a previous Spirit of the Vineyard honoree, presented Mrs. Weston with a signed citation from the state house of representatives, signed by Rep. Timothy Madden and Speaker Robert DeLeo. Mrs. Weston's name will also appear on a plaque at the Agricultural Hall alongside fellow Spirit of the Vineyard recipients.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Mrs. Weston said.
“I want all of you to know that living on this Island is a reward,” she said. “I don’t feel that I’ve given that much because the Island and its residents give so much back to me.”