2014 Public Servant of the Year: Ted Webb

From steering government committees to filling in as interim director of the Oysterponds Historical Society, Ted Webb of Orient steps up to the plate when he sees an opportunity to help his community. Over the years he’s been part of more than a dozen nonprofit, government and educational organizations. He remains active with most of them.

His experience speaks for itself. 

Mr. Webb, 76, is a former president of the Oysterponds school board and the East End Seaport Museum, a former member of Southold Town’s land preservation committee member and a former board member at St. Agnes R.C. Church in Greenport. And that’s just a few of the groups he’s served.

For those who know Mr. Webb, his value to the community goes beyond his extensive resume of volunteer efforts, employment history and other assorted honors.

Ted Webb during a 2011 Lighthouse Tour with the East End Seaport Museum. (Credit: Julie Lane, file)
Ted Webb during a 2011 Lighthouse Tour with the East End Seaport Museum. (Credit: Julie Lane, file)

“He is there whenever he is needed,” said longtime friend and neighbor Linda Apostle. “If he gets asked to do something, he accepts the responsibility when many of us would say ‘I’ve got other things to do.’ He just doesn’t think that way.”

For his continued commitment to bettering the community and inspiring others to do the same, Ted Webb is The Suffolk Times’ 2014 Public Servant of the Year.

“I always believed in giving back; I have done it all my life,” Mr. Webb said in a recent interview.

He spent his childhood summers in Orient and became a full-time resident in 2002, when he and his wife, Irene, made the move from their Nassau County home.

Mr. Webb earned a master’s degree in communications and speech language pathology from Adelphi University and later became an adjunct professor there, as well as at C.W. Post. At the time of his retirement, he was also director of communicative disorder programs at the Nassau County Department of Health. No matter where he lived or worked, he somehow always found the time to lend a hand in his community.

He previously served as senior vice president of the American Heart Association’s Heritage Affiliate in Manhattan and is a past president of the New York State and Long Island chapters of the Speech, Language and Hearing Association.

In 2003, not long after moving to Orient, he was named president of the Oysterponds Historical Society, but even after he left that position he was quick to step into the organization’s vacant director slot in November 2013, serving until February 2014, when someone was found to fill the position. He currently serves OHS as secretary.

Twice the president of the East End Seaport Museum, Mr. Webb plays an active role in helping the organization maintain Bug Light. He’s also well-known locally as the longtime announcer at the annual Greenport Maritime Festival, bringing smiles to the faces of the thousands who attend each year.

Mr. Webb also belongs to Peconic Landing’s Sponsor Board and is chairman of its Brecknock Hall Foundation.

“Ted is one of the greatest volunteers I know,” said Bob Syron, CEO of Peconic Landing. “He is very humble and he does a lot people don’t know about. He is very community minded and I’m pleased to have board members of his character, work ethic and experience to help guide our organization.”

With no plans to slow down in 2015, Mr. Webb is ramping up his involvement with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla 18-8 in Southold, a volunteer organization that supports the Coast Guard in all its non-military and non-law enforcement missions.

“I think that volunteering and keeping your mind and your body busy helps you maintain a youthful outlook on life,” Mr. Webb said. “I am 76 years old now, but I feel like I am going on 50.”

When Mr. Webb isn’t volunteering, the father of five and grandfather of 11 keeps busy spending time with family and encouraging others to get involved.

“There are many volunteer opportunities on the North Fork; you just look over your shoulder to find them,” he said. “They need people. I really encourage people to get involved.”

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Previous Winners

2013 — Heather Lanza

2012 — Ed Romaine

2011 — Greenport and Southold Highway Department Crews

2010 — Leslie Weisman

2009 — Betty Neville

2008 — Thomas Crowley

2007 — Philip Beltz

2006 — Jesse Wilson

2005 — Martin Flatley

2004 — Mattituck-Cutchogue School Board

2003 — Ben Orlowski Jr.

2002 — Jack Sherwood

2001 — Dave Abatelli

2000 — Melissa Spiro

1999 — Valerie Scopaz

1998 — Jamie Mills

1997 — Karen McLaughlin

1996 — Lisa Israel

1995 — John Costello

1994 — Ray Jacobs

1993 — Judy Terry

1992 — William Pell

1991 — Beth Wilson

1990 — Antonia Booth

1989 — Frank Murphy

1988 — Venetia McKeighan

1987 — Paul Stoutenburgh