BURRILLVILLE – She’s the behind-the-scenes force on many well-known programs in town, from the annual Burrillville Police Department Christmas drive, to popular Lunch & Learn events for seniors.
This week, the Burrillville Town Council recognized BPD Administrative Assistant Lisa Rabideau for her 30 years of service to the town, presenting a citation honoring her work.
“I don’t know where to begin,” said Councilor Justin Batalon, who requested the proclamation. “Thirty years anywhere – let alone in public service – is very unheard of nowadays.”
Councilor Jeremy Bailey disagreed on the amount of time being the rarity, saying it is Rabideau’s consistently pleasant demeanor that makes her unique.
“You do see that a lot,” Bailey joked of long-time public service. “But how many people end up bitter and just salty? We all know people like that.”
“She could be having the worst day and you’d never know it,” Bailey said of Rabideau. “Every time you talk to Lisa she’s got this smile on her face. She’s radiant – and I know her job is stressful.”
“Not only does she work in due diligence for the town, initially serving as a dispatcher, and now as an administrative aide – attempting to keep the colonel in line, I’m sure, isn’t an easy task,” Batalon joked of Rabideau’s boss, Col. Stephen Lynch.
A town resident and graduate from Burrillville High School, Rabideau was hired as a dispatcher in 1992. She was promoted to administrative assistant to the chief in 2010, and also serves as the department’s court clerk.
Officials noted that it’s her ongoing commitment to – and success with – the outside elements of the job that are most impressive.
As coordinator of the police department’s annual Christmas drive, Rabideau single-handedly organizes the purchase and distribution of hundreds of toys and gifts to community members in need every year, screening applicants and ensuring all are accounted for. Under her watch, the program has grown into more than just your normal kids’ toy drive, but rather, a complete holiday for recipient families, with gifts for the parents, gift certificates for food, stuffed stockings and even something for the family pet.
The drive now takes over the space at BPD’s Victory Highway headquarters for several weeks over the holiday season, with Rabideau at center, directing and organizing the massive effort.
As the department’s representative to Burrillville Aging Stronger, an initiative to improve quality of life for the town’s senior population, Rabideau has also been an organizer of that group’s events, with free luncheons attended by dozens of local organizations and hundreds of senior residents.
“She’s been there, leading the charge,” Batalon said of the Lunch & Learn events. “Thank you, Lisa.”
Councilor Dennis Anderson noted that she also made a huge contribution to Burrillville’s vaccination efforts.
“Lisa was the ring leader to try to get shots in arms,” Anderson said. “I think we need to remember the role she played there.”
All of the councilors had kind words – and memories – of the administrative aide, with Councilor Raymond Trinque noting she’s the calm voice on the phone whenever you have town business.
Councilor Stephen Rawson said she was a babysitter for his children.
“I’m pretty sure Lisa changed my diapers,” said Councilor Amanda Gingell, describing Rabideau as “part of fire and police family.”
“Lisa and I have been through many good and bad times together,” Gingell said. “She’s always been a big support.”
The official anniversary of Rabideau’s time at BPD was Tuesday, May 31, and she posted photos acknowledging the landmark on social media.
“So many stories, and memories, and friendships, and heartaches, and laughter, and learning, and trainings, and experiences,” wrote Rabideau. “I wouldn’t change a thing. So much more than a job, or even a career… words fail. Can’t imagine the day I won’t be able to say that I am part of the BPD family.”