Gladys Durant and Patricia Haras, 2010

Each year, the MTA Retired Members Committee celebrates an active or retired member for his or her influence on behalf of students, beginning educators and association members. The Honoring One of Our Own Award is usually awarded to just one person, Retired Committee and MTA Executive Committee member Mary Gilmore said at the Sept. 29, 2010, Retired Gathering in Marlboro. This year, so many good nominations were received that the committee made an exception and honored two of our own: Patricia Haras, president of the new Acton Public & Acton-Boxborough Office Support Association, and longtime MTA leader Gladys Durant.

Haras, a 40-year employee of the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, was recognized for the leadership role she played in the formation in 2003 of a local for support staff in the schools.

“Pat realized that secretarial support staff needed a voice, as their professional needs were not being recognized,” wrote Cindy Bergland and Sandy D’Amico in their nomination letter. “This included staff from five elementary schools, junior high, high school, SPED and central office. Forming an Office Support Association had been a long time dream of Pat’s.”

“During contract negotiations, Pat has been instrumental in achieving many benefits for our members,” her nominators wrote. “She has also enlightened school committee members to the importance and dedication that each and every member puts forth. She is constantly striving for respect and appreciation for all.”

Gladys Durant, who is retired from the Attleboro Public Schools, was honored for her “enthusiasm, leadership, vision, creativity, commitment and loyalty.”

Sandra Ryle worked with Durant for more than 35 years. In her nomination essay, Ryle recalled, “(Gladys) encouraged and mentored me and many others to take action, step up and speak up for our contract rights. As a past contract negotiator, she gave me that gentle persuasion to run for the local’s office or First Vice President/Negotiations Chair by running a write-in campaign for me and getting me elected!” 

“She is a self-starter who learns very quickly and has the ability to communicate effectively with those with whom she is working,” wrote nominator Louise Gaskins, who has worked along side Durant on numerous MTA committees and programs, including the Human and Civil Rights and Retired Members committees. “Gladys has continued her interest and hard work as a retiree. She continues to exhibit her advocacy for colleagues and support professionals as the MTA Retired Liaison in her Attleboro local. The commitment brings her a lot of personal satisfaction and provides invaluable support for her colleagues.”