Volunteering helps man become resident of year

 Messenger photo by Andrea Cordle
 C.P. Sprague was named the 2007 Harrisburg resident of the year. Here he accepts his award from Mayor Cindy Taylor at the Harrisburg Homecoming on Aug. 2. Sprague said he was honored and encouraged everyone to spend more time volunteering.

Several decades ago Clifford Paul (C.P.) Sprague took a woman out for their first date. After hearing about nasty car accident he left his date at his parent’s home and volunteered to help at the scene.

"That is just how he is, always putting others first," said Cathy Sprague, the date who was left behind and who married C.P. in 1971.

This is one of the reasons Sprague was named the 2007 Harrisburg resident of the year. He was given the award on Aug. 2 at the opening ceremony of the Harrisburg Homecoming.

Sprague, 57, has lived in the small village since he was 9-years-old.

"Harrisburg is a great little community," he said. "It’s so laid back and quiet and you really find neighbors who care about each other."

Sprague grew up idolizing, not national heroes or famous people, but local people who would offer to lend a helping hand. In his younger days, he worked at a small market in the village where he watched the owner help those in need. If someone did not have enough money to pay for their basic needs, the owner would give them a break on the bill.

"I grew up watching people volunteer and it really stood out in my mind," said Sprague.

"I watched the way they handled and presented themselves."

In 1974 and 1983, Sprague was chief of police in Harrisburg. He also worked as a volunteer for the fire department, when there was one in the village, and worked for the street commission. He volunteered at the Harrisburg Recreation Center and coached little league sports.

"People in this community have always looked up to him and respected him," said Cathy. "He’s always been willing to jump in and help someone."

Cathy explained that an old resident of the village came back to see Sprague get his award. This man grew up while Sprague was the chief of police. He wanted to personally thank him for keeping him out of trouble and leading him towards the "right path."

"This award has been a long time coming," said Cathy. "It’s an appreciation of everything he has done in this village."

"I was surprised," said Sprague of finding out he was named resident of the year. "I try to help whoever I can but I certainly didn’t expect this."

In addition to his numerous volunteer activities, Sprague is also a member of the Harrisburg VFW Post and the KFP Lodge. He has been a VFW member for 15 years. Both organizations help to host events in the village that would bring in additional funds.

"C.P. would give you the shirt off his back," said Cathy. "Harrisburg is a unique village and he wants to help keep it that way."

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