As a girl, Susan Covert kept a watchful eye on the world around her.
She sat in her childhood home and digested the political climate and angst people felt at the time, knowing that one day she would like to be part of the solution to some of the same problems.
“It all started growing up in a family that was aware of what was happening in the world and talking about it during the Vietnam War,” Covert said. “I feel like some of the things that we were protesting then, we’re back to protesting…I’ve always been political.”
As a 33 year impact resident of Hopkinton, she has actively sought out ways to help her community environmentally and through legislation.
Covert spent much of her professional career as a private consultant in the human services industry, where she focused her efforts on helping individuals and families affected by disabilities.
She has also served on the Developmental Disabilities Council of NH, worked at the Disabilities Institute at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and has dedicated countless hours to assisting the Disabilities Rights Center of NH. those associated with the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project and UNH.
“We’ve been successful in getting support for families…for people with developmental disabilities and others as well,” Covert said. “We have been working to get support services, working to get proper health care and working on medical services issues, which the legislature has provided some support to get dental services covered by Medicaid, which is wonderful. .”
It wasn’t until 2003 that Covert embarked on yet another community service venture.
Not far from her home in Contoocook, a local waste management company, BioEnergy LLC, was burning construction and demolition debris, which it was allowed to do because it had a permit. Many Hopkinton residents, including Covert, opposed the human and environmental impacts this process was having on their community, so they banded together to form the Residents Environmental Action Committee for Health (REACH).
Covert’s role on the committee revolved around outreach and organization. She played a pivotal role in spreading the message about the need for environmental reform, which included diligent research on the issue. In 2007, with the help of city officials, legislation was passed to ban the burning of construction and demolition debris in New Hampshire, after the state Supreme Court ruled. against a similar bill a year earlier.
“I didn’t realize they burned other things there,” Covert said. “And I’ve never had any breathing problems, but I had to get an asthma inhaler and it was not uncommon for me to need one. And then when they finally closed, I haven’t had to use it since.
She added that she and others “worked together to stop the company from poisoning our city. It was a long process…but the ban went into effect on January 1, 2008.”
Throughout the research and legal processes of this effort, Covert developed various contacts who would periodically send him notices of events taking place in the Hopkinton area. She had a mailing list of her community outreach efforts, so she continued to pass the information on to others.
“We didn’t need to do environmental protection anymore, so people were reaching out to me sporadically,” Covert said. “There’s a lot going on in a small town, so I would send something out once a week, maybe as an opinion on something someone wanted to get. And then I started getting a lot more requests from the public.
Over the past few years, Covert has helped inform its community by developing an email newsletter that is sent out almost daily. It contains all Hopkinton news including local high school sports, local political news, photos and general events in the area.
Covert’s mailing list that receives the newsletter now has over 700 people, and it has served as a platform for photographers, businesses and other events to help gain additional exposure. Its purpose is to help any underappreciated or underrecognized person or entity to obtain the accessories that are due to them.
Laurie Morrissey, a close friend of Covert and an avid reader of the newsletter, emphasized how important her friend’s efforts are to their city.
“This newsletter has become a very important feature of life in this city,” Morrissey said. “And a lot of people really appreciate it. People don’t always go to the city calendar to find out what’s going on.
In Covert’s eyes, the future of the newsletter looks a lot like its inception, unpredictable. She is happy with her current state and wants to continue using it as a platform to spread information, help her community and her modus operandi, social advocacy.
Along with her roots as a politically charged individual, what has propelled her to be such a fixture in Hopkinton is her love for the community. It does not preclude future advocacy efforts.
“(My husband and I) have always been involved in the community just because it’s a wonderful place and we have a real sense of community,” Covert said. “You don’t always see that. When it’s there, it’s really wonderful to be part of it.