July 19, 2003 - Daily Hampshire Gazette: Niger RPCV Robert J. Ryan benefits Hatfield museum

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Niger: Peace Corps Niger : The Peace Corps in Niger: July 19, 2003 - Daily Hampshire Gazette: Niger RPCV Robert J. Ryan benefits Hatfield museum

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 9:38 am: Edit Post

Niger RPCV Robert J. Ryan benefits Hatfield museum

Niger RPCV Robert J. Ryan benefits Hatfield museum

Ambassador benefits Hatfield museum

By SEAN REAGAN, Staff Writer Saturday, July 19, 2003 -- HATFIELD NEW HAMPSHIRE - One of the town's favorite sons continues to extend his generosity to the Historical Society.

Robert J. Ryan, a Hatfield native and former U.S. ambassador to Niger, recently donated several items to the Hatfield Historical Museum, including a collection of foreign and antique coins that belonged to his father.

"I think in the 1990s, he began sending his belongings from his career to us," said Rita Prew, president of the Hatfield Historical Society. "We have quite a collection of things from all around the world."

Ryan's donations include his former school desk, letters from former President George Bush and a camel saddle from Africa.

"He's been very important to the museum," said Prew. "Not only in terms of financial support, but also in terms of interest and suggestions. It's been much more than just money. He's very interested in history."

Ryan, who is 89, currently resides in Daytona Beach, Fla. Earlier this year he received a special award "for distinguished and dedicated service to his country" from the Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired and Florida Foreign Service Retirees Association, as well as an American Foreign Service Association National Alumni Service Award.

"These two awards, coming as they do as I approach my 89th birthday, from fellow foreign affairs officers are much appreciated and very meaningful to me," wrote Ryan in a letter.

In 2001, Ryan received an award from the Friends of Niger, a group of former Peace Corps volunteers who served in Niger from 1963 to the present, in honor of his "important and lasting contribution to Niger and its people."

Prew lauded Ryan's consideration for the Historical Society and museum, saying that it was an important contribution to "a very historical town."

"We've raised the community consciousness even more that it already was," said Prew. "There are hundreds and hundreds of new people and the Historical Society has exposed them to the town's history."

The Ryan collection is a permanent feature in the Historical Museum located above the Hatfield Library. Prew said she is confident that it will remain one of the museum's most popular attractions.

"Ambassador Ryan just gives and gives and gives," said Prew. "He's been very generous to us."

Sean Reagan can be reached at sreagan@gazettenet.com.

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Story Source: Daily Hampshire Gazette

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Niger; Diplomacy; Museums



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