Chelmsford High School Alumni Association
RALPH E. AND HARRIETTE F. HOUSE
Awarding Criteria: Will be awarded to a graduate of Chelmsford High School who is enrolled in an accredited two (2) or four (4) year college or university and has demonstrated community service to the Town of Chelmsford
Ralph E. House was a local building contractor and a life-long resident of Chelmsford. His wife, Harriette, had strong family ties to the town and was raised in Chelmsford from the age of seven, after her father had died in a terrible fire and explosion. They made a strong team and she was a full partner in many of the things he did.
In a career that lasted over thirty years, Ralph House never signed a contract; every business deal was signed with a handshake. This handshake stood for quality work, at a fair price and with a guarantee of customer satisfaction.
His handshake, freely given, also defined the man that he was. It was his symbol of friendship and caring, of faith and community, and of responsibility and dedication. He was most proud of being a member of the Masonic Order, with its emphasis on brotherhood and charity. Likewise, he enjoyed being one of the earliest members of the Chelmsford Rotary Club, with its emphasis on service and fairness.
Ralph and Harriette often opened their home to young men who needed a place to stay -- often for months, or even years. He became \\\"best buddies\\\" with a 5-year old with leukemia, and they took a boy with brain cancer under their wing. He donated tools to students graduating from Nashoba Valley Regional Technological High School. He helped many others as they started their own construction-related businesses. When a local family was left homeless after a fire and when a Chelmsford police officer died tragically in a traffic accident, they worked vigorously to raise funds to help. When tragedy would strike members of their extended family, they were there to offer comfort and sound advice, and would help each for years to come. They would take the time to talk to people who needed to talk, and -- more importantly -- they would take the time to listen. All of these small acts of kindness -- again, freely given -- helped better the lives of others.
They took great pride in their family -- their three children and their grandchildren. People cherished their friendship and their common sense.
It is the hope of the Scholarship Committee that each recipient of this honor reflects the spirit and the ideals of Ralph E. and Harriette F. House: responsibility and commitment, honor and hard work, compassion and community, faith and caring, friendship and humor.
May your handshake represent the type of person you wish to become.