Hyde Park businessman Howard Manosh this week came about as close to being deputized as one can just a couple of weeks before his 85th birthday.
Manosh was given his late brother’s sheriff’s badge in a ceremony Tuesday morning honoring him for the contributions he’s made — money, property and elbow grease — to the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department for more than 40 years.
Gardner Manosh was sheriff from 1972 until his death in 2000. His badge, brassy golden and polished one last time that morning by current sheriff Roger Marcoux, was affixed to the plaque that Marcoux gave to Howard Manosh.
Marcoux said that when Gardner Manosh was still in his early years, around 1975, he introduced the first countywide emergency dispatch service in the country. And brother Howard was there to lend his telecommunications tower right next to the police station, free of charge.
“That’s how you used to get things done,” Marcoux said. “Things are a little bit more complicated now.”
Marcoux said Manosh opened his Plaza Hotel in Morrisville to provide a homeless shelter last winter while a group, spearheaded by Marcoux, secured zoning permits for a permanent shelter in Hyde Park village.
Manosh was touched by the remembrance, which brought about 30 friends and family to the sheriff’s department conference room.
“It’s overwhelming for me to stand here and hear this stuff,” he said.
He said it was especially nice to see his brother remembered at the same time.
“I was brought up by parents who said if you’ve got more than you need, don’t be afraid to give it away. It’ll come back to you,” Manosh said. “And that’s the way that we’ve lived. And he lived the same way.”
‘Take it to the bank’
Gov. Phil Scott told the crowd that Gardner Manosh would have been proud of his brother.
“If it weren’t for Howard Manosh, I’m not sure that Lamoille County would look like it does,” Scott said. “And you can be very proud of that, because you’ve always helped people.”
Scott talked about when he was 24 years old and wanted to open a motorcycle shop. He went to Manosh for advice.
Manosh went further, leasing Scott a piece of land on Harrel Street, saying, “I don’t need anything from you for a while. When you start making money, you can start making payments.”
Help from Manosh meant the businessman sometimes came over at night to help pound nails. Scott even went to work for the Manosh Corp. for a year.
“He took me under his wing and taught me so much — about business, about life, about how you treat people, and what a handshake really means,” Scott said. “And that’s what you can count on from Howard. If he gives you his word, and he looks you in the eye, and he tells you he’s going to do something, you can take it to the bank.”
Former Union Bank president Ken Gibbons said Manosh is “always straight up with you.”
He said you always hear people say, “yeah, I remember when Howard did this for me. And that’s kind of what this is today, people remembering what you did for them,” Gibbons told Manosh.
Said Manosh afterward, “I’ve got a new theory. I want to have zero net worth when they shove me in a box.”