Madison wouldn’t be Madison without Don Rankin—a sentiment that rang loud and clear at the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting on Dec. 19 as close to 100 people came out to see Don Rankin receive the inaugural Town of Madison Community Service Award.
Rankin and his wife, Nancy, have been Madison residents for almost 40 years. He was trained as a general surgeon in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and returned to Yale, where he was briefly an assistant clinical professor of surgery, for more training before going into emergency medicine.
In his retirement, Rankin has donated countless volunteer hours to organizations in Madison. He has been an avid member of the Friends of Hammonasset (FOH), Madison ABC (A Better Chance), an active member of St. Andrew’s Church, and Madison Cares/Habitat for Humanity (now known as Raise the Roof).
First Selectman Tom Banisch presented Rankin with the award in front of a large—and often cheering—crowd.
“We wanted to recognize your many contributions to our community with our first annual Town of Madison Community Service Award,” he said. “This will be awarded annually to a person who was worked for the betterment of the Town of Madison.”
State Representative Noreen Kokoruda additionally presented Rankin with a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly, thanking him for his years of service.
“Thank you for all you have done for the nation, the state, and our community,” she said. “The entire membership extends its best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses the hope for continued success.”
Representatives from St. Andrew’s Church, FOH, and community members spoke about Rankin, including resident Walter Lippmann.
“Don Rankin is a town treasure and there are not a lot of people we can say this about, but in the 20 or so years I have known Don and Nancy, it has been an absolute pleasure to have this man in my life,” he said. “He is truly the best of the best.”
Rankin, true to form, accepted the award with humor and a smile.
“Driving over here tonight I said to Nancy, ‘In your wildest dreams did you ever think I would get the first annual town of Madison Public Service Award?’ and she said ‘Don, you are not in my wildest dreams,’” he said.
On a more serious note, Rankin said he was honored to receive the award.
“I have been around here a long time and there are plenty of people who would be much more deserving than I am so I am very honored to be the recipient of this first award,” he said. “I accept it really on behalf of so many people who have joined in my craziness and who have raised so much money.”