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The Steering Committee

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Peter A Thomas


Peter A Thomas moved to South Deerfield from southern Maine with his family in 1955; graduated Frontier Regional High School in 1962.  He completed a BA in American History at UMass-Amherst, an MA in early American history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MA and PhD in Anthropology at UMass-Amherst. 

In September 1979, Thomas founded the Consulting Archaeology Program at the University of Vermont, where he remained its Director and Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology until 1999.

From 1999 until 2015, Thomas worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an Environmental and Historic Preservation Officer during disaster recovery operations throughout the US. 

Thomas is currently retired, living in South Deerfield, and re-engaged in historic research on the Connecticut Valley, with a focus on Deerfield.

Holly Lankowski


Holly Lankowski has been a resident of South Deerfield for over forty years. She currently serves as a Life Member and Treasurer of the
South Deerfield Women’s Club. 

A proud UMass Alumna, Holly retired as Purchasing Coordinator for the Procurement Department at UMass Amherst. Responsibilities included management of the campus purchasing card program, development and maintenance of the department web pages, and training.

Prior to joining UMass, she worked in the insurance industry primarily in various Group Insurance Claims Departments including management of a Disability Claims Unit.

In her free time, she enjoys gardening, golf and travel with her husband.

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Carolyn Shores Ness

Member & Selectboard Liasion

Carolyn Shores Ness is a resident of Deerfield. She currently serves as a Member of the Deerfield Selectboard/Board of Health.  

As part of her journey in public service, Carolyn served on a variety of nonprofit entities as a Board Member. Included in these are the Franklin County CDC, the Greenfield's Girls Club, and the United Way.

Since dedicating her time to public service for the Town of Deerfield, Carolyn has has received various trainings to ensure her abilities in serving the Town, including Incident Command Emergency Response System Training (ICS 100; ICS 200; ICS 400; NIMS 700), and Community Emergency Response Training.


Carolyn currently serves on the following Committees and Boards: Deerfield Senior Housing, 350th Steering Committee, Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition, Pioneer Valley Mosquito Control District, Western Mass Homeland Security Advisory Council, Regional Emergency Planning Council, Shelburne Control Oversight Board, Creating Resilient Communities, State Commission for Soil, Water, and Related Resources: MA Association of Conservation Districts: Franklin Conservation, the MA Watershed Coalition, and the Municipal Coalition Against Pipelines. 

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Jay Stryker


Jay Stryker is a resident of South Deerfield. He currently serves as a Docent, Restorer and as the Secretary for the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield. 

His career spans countries, including the US and Egypt, when he worked for USAID based in Washington, D.C. His most recent career lead him to work locally for companies such as UMass in Amherst, Hardigg Industries (now Pelican), Fab-Tech, Rov-Tech, and for himself. 


This work lead him to create telescope and instrument parts; machinist for molds, aircraft parts and prototypes; machine tool maintenance, structural steel welding/fabrication; machinist making underwater service robot parts and operated such at nuclear plants.

Jay enjoys volunteering to teach design and building to local youth to share his knowledge.

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Diane Martin


Diane Martin is a lifelong resident of South Deerfield. Her grandparents, Leon and Casimira Rotkiewicz came to South Deerfield in 

1913 from Poland. Her family has been farming their property north of the Great Swamp ever since. Diane’s father Stanley frequently told her 

of the richness of the soil and how the Polish

recognized that when they entered the valley.

Diane attended Frontier Regional and graduated in 1971. She attended STCC and graduated as a Medical Lab Technician (ASCP). She retired after a great 43 year career in 2017 from the Microbiology Department at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. 

Diane resides with her husband in the house they built with the help of family near her family's original homestead.

From den mother, scoutmaster to being treasurer of the Frontier Football Parent’s group, Diane volunteered within the community for 12 years. 

Presently Diane is currently researching her family tree. During growing season she can be found planting or harvesting the taste of Deerfield.

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Kelly Charest


Kelly Charest has been a resident of West Deerfield for 20 years. She is currently a Fundraising Co-Chair for the Deerfield Elementary PTA.

Kelly completed her master’s degree in Business Administration in 2021 from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and has two bachelor’s degrees: one in Communications from SNHU and the other in Criminal Justice from Western New England University. 

She has worked for over 13 years in the Marketing department at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, recently transitioning in July of 2021 to the Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice as a Community Liaison.

Her professional experience includes event planning, marketing, and operations management. She spends her free time with her family, jogging throughout the roads of West Deerfield and curling up with a good book!

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