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Nominees Reflect on Battle for Patch's Person of the Year

It was a close race, and it's clear that the two men who won first and second places think highly of each another.

When it comes to the race for , the top vote-getters have entered 2012 with the same enthusiasm they used to wrap up 2011.

After five nominations, thousands of votes and a poll that lasted seven days, Southeast-Brewster Patch named Denis Castelli the . Castelli serves as historian for both the Village of Brewster and Putnam County, and he is also involved in veterans affairs throughout the region.

Steven Mattson, a member of , the Putnam County Land Trust, Boy Scouts of America (Brewster Pack 1) and the United States Marine Corps, finished a close second. After days of intense voting, when the majority would sometimes shift back and forth between the two on an hourly basis, Castelli closed the contest with 47 percent of the vote. Mattson claimed 37 percent.

"I think that the numbers were so high for the two of us, I don't think there was a clear winner here," Castelli told Patch, adding that when he realized he received the most votes, he didn't know what to say. "I was in good company with all of the nominees."

Castelli, who is working with other local officials in planning celebrations for Putnam County's 200th anniversary this year, said he is happy to "share the limelight" with Mattson. The former recommended the latter to fill the position of Southeast town historian, which was recently left vacant because of James Nixon's retirement. Last week, the Town Board made the appointment official. 

The new town historian said that anyone who voted for him in the Person of the Year poll was also voting for his wife, who helps him balance all of his activities. Both Mattson and Castelli can be spotted around town nearly any day of the week: attending meetings, planning community events, speaking to youths or simply enjoying breakfast at .

"I hold Denis in the highest regard," Mattson wrote to Patch. "He is everywhere — the Putnam County Land Trust, the VFW and just about every community event there is. He is Involved, Genuine and Effective — all capitalized for a reason. Second place to him is perfectly OK with me."

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