By: Brian Genest – Feb. 2021
Do you know someone in Dracut who deserves to be recognized for their service?
Now’s the time to make it happen: nominations for this year’s Varnum Award are due February 19. The annual award, named after Dracut’s most famous son, was established to recognize a member of the community who exemplifies the civic and patriotic spirit of Joseph Bradley Varnum through their volunteerism or demonstration of love of country through military service.
Joseph Bradley Varnum was born in Dracut January 29, 1751. He was the son of Samuel Varnum and Mary Prime. Like his father, Joseph Bradley Varnum was both a farmer and military officer. At 18, he was commissioned to serve as a captain in the Massachusetts militia. He commanded Dracut’s militia company during the American Revolution, fighting at Lexington and Concord, and attained the rank of major general.
After the war, Varnum served as a delegate to the Massachusetts state convention and voted for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. He also served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1780 to 1785 and as a member of the Massachusetts State Senate from 1786 to 1795. Varnum wasn’t a lawyer, but he also served as a judge, including as a Justice of the Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Court of General Sessions.
Varnum was a member of the U.S. House from 1795 to 1811, serving as Speaker of the House from 1807 to 1811. Varnum then served in the U.S. Senate from 1811 to 1817, and was the Senate’s President pro tempore from 1813 to 1814. After leaving the U.S. Senate, Varnum served in the Massachusetts State Senate until his death. He died in Dracut on September 21, 1821 and is buried at Varnum Cemetery on Parker Road.
You can get the Varnum Award Nomination Form on the town’s website: HERE
There’s also another annual town event worth noting: the Dracut Scholarship Foundation Telethon. At this time every year, Dracut shows its tremendous generosity and Middie Pride. The event is now in its 38th year.
The Dracut Scholarship Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to raise money for scholarships for graduating students of Dracut High School, was incorporated in 1959. Since its inception, the Dracut Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than $1.7 million dollars in scholarships to nearly 1,700 DHS graduates.
In 2020, the Dracut Scholarship Foundation awarded $143,500 to 47 graduating Seniors at Dracut High School. In other words, it’s a worthwhile cause and well worth your while.
The 38th annual telethon will take place in March. You can watch the telethon live on Dracut cable tv on Channels 8 and 22. You can also see a live stream of the telethon online at dracuttv.org.
Every year, the Dracut Scholarship Foundation Telethon brings out the best of Dracut, shining a bright spotlight on our community’s long-term commitment to helping DHS students.
Please, donate to the Dracut Scholarship Foundation this year, if you can. No donation is too small and every donation helps a worthy student. By the way, all donations are tax deductible, too.
Visit the Dracut Scholarship Foundation’s page on Facebook to get more information and updates about the telethon: facebook.com/dracutdsf
Brian Genest is chairman of the Dracut Republican Town Committee and a member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee representing the Second Essex and Middlesex district of Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and Tewksbury. ◊