For forty years, the Lake Placid Hall of Fame has honored the people who have significantly enriched the Olympic Region, its heritage, culture, and quality of life. In showcasing the achievements and contributions of our area’s athletes, leaders, and pioneers, the Hall of Fame Committee celebrates the spirit of the Lake Placid community and enshrines the individual legacies into its glorious history.
Through its work, the Committee helps preserve our history as well as promote our values. In that way, excellence in community life is recognized not only as part of our past but also as part of our future.
Established in 1983, the Lake Placid Hall of Fame has inducted more than 140 individuals, as well as the 1948 U.S. Olympic four-man bobsled team and the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. The 40th Annual Induction Ceremony will be held November 4, 2023, in Mt Van Hoevenberg’s beautifully appointed North Lounge.
All are invited to attend to help celebrate and honor this year’s three new inductees:
Russell Banks: Russell Banks was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, first for Continental Drift and then for Cloudsplitter. He has had his books translated into over twenty languages and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996.
Banks, a resident of Keene, based five of his novels in our region: The Sweet Hereafter, made into an award-winning film, The Reserve, Rule of the Bone, his last novel American Spirits, and Cloudsplitter, abolitionist John Brown from his son Owen’s perspective. Cloudsplitter stimulated a reconsideration of Brown, new research, the founding of John Brown Lives!, the Official Friends Group of John Brown Historic Site, and the revitalization of an annual tribute to John Brown. In addition, Banks, as the lyricist, based the opera Harmony on his wife, the poet Chase Twichell’s ancestor Harmony’s near ruined engagement to the composer Charles Ives by family friend Mark Twain; an opera premiered by the Seagle Festival in Schroon Lake, NY.
Banks was a Co-founder of the Lake Placid Film Festival, the Adirondack Center for Writing, and John Brown Lives! and remained an active supporter and participant of all three since their founding. In addition, one of his short stories, The Fisherman, was adapted into a play presented at the Recovery Lounge, Upper Jay Art Center.
Richard “Armando” Persico: Richard “Armando” Persico, long-time resident of Lake Placid and lover of the Adirondacks, was a United States Army veteran, and an accomplished environmental and land use lawyer. Armando was the principal author of the Adirondack Park Agency Act and served as the Agency’s first Executive Director. He guided the Agency through its early years when it was reviled by many Park residents and celebrated by environmentalists. Armando was appointed Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation where he oversaw the enforcement of the State sweeping environmental laws, including the Love Canal cleanup and PCB removal in the Hudson River.
While at DEC, Armando was instrumental in permitting construction of the 1980 Winter Olympic venues and was called on to help solve vexing transportation problems at the start of the Games. He was then tapped to write legislation creating the Olympic Regional Development Authority and once enacted, was appointed as its first General Counsel. While at ORDA, Armando secured approval for the construction of the United States Olympic Training Center, one of only two in the United States and drafted and secured passage of a constitutional amendment allowing trail expansions at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area.
In 1987 Armando retired from State service and practiced law for ten years in Lake Placid with in his friend and long-time associate, Thomas Ulasewicz. He also served as the Lake Placid Village attorney.
His environmental and land use achievements have been recognized by the New York State Bar Association and the New York State Senate.
Sally Warner: Sally Warner was “born and raised in Lake Placid” as she so proudly told everyone! Her pride and love for the town was evident at her 80th Birthday when former Mayor Roby Politi presented her with a key to the village.
Sally was an amazing competitive athlete. At age 13, she was invited to the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association (USEASA), finishing 9th overall at the Junior Nationals. She graduated from Lake Placid High in 1954, capping her ski career by winning both alpine events, and was honored as the Winter Carnival Queen. After high school, Sally graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a degree in history (adding a master’s in education later). She also met her future husband Mark, and together they had two children, Christopher and Katherine, returning to Lake Placid in 1968.
Sally’s greatest achievement was as a teacher. For nearly 30 years, Sally devoted herself to teaching at elementary and middle schools in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. She also taught downhill skiing at several local ski areas and cross-country skiing at Cascade Ski Touring Center. As a Life Master in Bridge, Sally also taught others how to play the game.
In addition to education, Sally’s thirst for civic responsibility led her to become Town Councilwoman, from 1996 to 2008. As the first woman elected to the town board, Sally became an inspiration for others who followed. Sally was also actively involved in the community, as a member and past president of the Kiwanis Club, vestry of the Episcopal Church, Lake Placid School Board, Business and Professional Women’s group, Library Board, Zoning Board, Mercy Care, and the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society/Museum.
In 2002, she won Businesswoman of the Year for her See the Sights with Sally tour business, where she shared her love and passion for the Adirondacks with all who visited. Hundreds of bus tours and individuals referred to her as Lake Placid’s “Mrs. Ambassador.”
A 46er, an accomplished golfer, an avid walker, and a dog lover round out Sally’s life.
Everyone is invited to the 40th Annual Induction Ceremony to be held November 4, 2023. The event will begin at 6:00 pm with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $40 and must be purchased by Thursday, October 26. They are available online at this link or by calling the Olympic Center box office at 518-523-3330.