The votes are tallied, and the winner of Riverhead Patch's Greatest Person of 2012 is Denise Lucas.
Lucas, who has been working diligently with her Riverhead Move The Animal Shelter foundation toward a new location and new shelter for animals, was lauded by those who nominated her. Here are some of the accolades Lucas received:
"I would like to nominate Denise Lucas of the Riverhead MTAS - Move The Animal Shelter. Denise has worked so hard the last year holding fundraisers every month for the last year to help relocate and build a new animal shelter for the animals of Riverhead. The current shelter is located on Youngs Ave next to the recycling plant and is in need of major work. Denise works a full time job @Otis Ford. She has a supportive husband Luke and three dogs of their own, China, Duke, and Sissy. Whenever you go to the Lucas home there is always some sort of planning for the next event going on. I believe Denise Lucas is Riverhead's Greatest Person. I know this because I help Denise with this project and I know how time consuming and demanding it is, so Denise really deserves this. Thank you, Laurie Milford."
"Denise Lucas. She works like crazy for the animals. North Fork Bob."
"I want to nominate Denise Lucas for Riverhead's person of the year.
There are a lot of us who complain about the animal shelter in Riverhead, but few people who actually go out and work to make a difference. Denise has done that this year. She's raised money and made a difference for animals in our town that can already be seen at the dog park at EPCAL. The animal shelter is one of the biggest issues facing our town and Denise is a person who is really challenging the issue head on and making a difference. Ashley Wilbourn Pinciaro."
"Denise Lucas has been volunteering her time diligently to build a new animal shelter and has opened Riverhead's first and only new dog walk park . She has made an unselfish positive contribution for the betterment of our town for all the dogs she helps." Ryan Hart.
"I hope and wish for Denise Lucas to be recognized as an exceptional Greatest Person of Riverhead. Denise works so hard at all of her fundraising benefits and it has been so wonderful to see that the dog park came to be. It is also so great to see how the town and the people who live here support her. The support and respect for her selfless actions have changed the people's outlook on the future of our town shelter and its importance for it to be upgraded to a condition of humane. All of these tireless efforts, which have also had a huge effect on the general outlook and care of animals in the town and beyond our town. I did just recently as well as last year enjoy many of her benefits and my salon will continue to support her holiday party as long as Denise will continue to organize such a wonderful event. Lisa Pickersgill."
"I would like to nominate Denise Lucas for Riverhead's Greatest Person. She has taken on quite the task of bringing the animal shelter up to new heights. Ms. Lucas is a tireless volunteer, constantly working towards her goal of earning enough money so that the Town of Riverhead will be able to move the animal shelter and improve the lives of animals in need. I believe her efforts will also shine favorably on the Town's reputation too. What a dynamo this woman is! Sincerely, Desiree Passantino, Wading River."
"I agree 100% and second your nomination for Ms. Lucas. She is one smart lady.
Congratulations to all our nominees -- and a big thank you, for working to make Riverhead a more wonderful place to live and work.