By Keagan Calkins, South Hero Library Director
SOUTH HERO - Soon after this summer’s Snow Farm Vineyard kickoff of the Worthen Society, a new group formed to recognize Library donors, we were pleased and surprised to open an envelope with a check for an amount that puts the donors, Taylor and Jennifer Buckner of South Hero, in the Philanthropist level of this new Society. Their generous gift also puts the South Hero Library very close to our $1.5 million goal to build a new library.
“I wanted to inspire people to put the Library campaign over the top,” said Taylor Buckner. “Libraries have played a very important part in my life. When I was a youngster, I discovered our local public library, where they let me browse everything, not just the children’s section. It was like discovering the world.”
He added that, in today’s world of the internet, the library still plays a very important role in the community for people of all ages. “What my wife, Jennifer, likes in particular is that the new Library will have a community meeting space, a definite plus for our town. I read a recent article about the resurgence of public libraries because there are so few places left to meet where you do not have to buy something, like at Starbuck’s. And a library is not all silence anymore. It is a place for public discourse.”
Dr. Buckner retired from a career as a Sociology Professor at Concordia University in Montreal to live in South Hero with his wife, Jennifer, who is an artist. The funds for the donation were generated by his business, Hero’s Arms.
“This generous gift moves us very close to our goal,” said Library Board President Ken Kowalewitz. “It is an inspiring gift for all of us.”
This gift, along with several other recent significant gifts, moves the Library’s fundraising close to the $1.5 building goal. “Thanks to donations like the Buckners’, and those of others in our community, we will be able to build a great library for our community.”
The new South Hero Library will have increased space for programming and books. Preschool Story Hour will be reinstated in the new library, which will also be equipped with new computers to enhance digital access for everyone.
You can be part of building our new Library, and ensuring a great space for people of all ages, by making a gift today.
You can make a secure donation online at www.southherolibrary.org or stop in to the Library with a check. Please consider the Library when making your year-end giving plans.
The South Hero Public Library has programming geared for all ages.
For more information about programming, our building progress and the fundraising campaign, call the library at 802-372-6209.
By Katya Wilcox, Island Arts Executive Director
NORTH HERO - Guess the giant pumpkins’ weight and win! Guess the total accumulated weight of the 4 giant pumpkins grown by Island Arts and win a 2019 season’s concert ticket for two.
You will find the pumpkins at Snow Farm Vineyards, The Green Frog and The Blue Paddle in South Hero and in North Hero at Hero’s Welcome. Only add the four orange pumpkins’ weight - do not count the green giant gourds or white pumpkins’ weight. Send your estimate to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be announced in an upcoming Islander.
It took a community of friends, one truck, 3 tractors and a day to move those giants from the pumpkin patch at the Island Arts Center to their destination.
The truck of Scandore Construction in North Hero was loaned to Island Arts with Randy Kenney driving it and helping loading, unloading and placing the giants at each destination. Tractors were driven by Charlie Bombard of North Hero, and from South Hero, Chris Major of Keeler Bay Sales and Services, Ron Hackett of Hacketts Orchard and Patrick Barrelet of Snow Farm Vineyard. Karl Raacke and Austyn Bjune were part of the crew too. Pumpkins seeds were donated, planted and cared for by our one and only Steve Minor of South Hero.
Island Arts board of directors thanks all the businesses and people who make this fundraiser such a success.
Photo credit: Katya Wilcox
By Robin Way, C.I.D.E.R. Executive Director
ALBURGH - The Annual Membership Meeting for Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources (C.I.D.E.R.) was held at Links on the Lake restaurant in Alburgh on Friday, Sept. 28. As part of the organization’s 25th anniversary celebration, a new annual award has been created that will recognize people who have contributed in some special way toward the success of the C.I.D.E.R. and its mission. Recipients of the “Outstanding Neighbor Award” were introduced to the 80 plus members and guests attending the dinner and presented with a small token of appreciation for their efforts.
The “Class of 2018” included Jane Potvin, who as a Vermont State Representative from South Hero, was responsible for the Town Meeting Day survey in 1988 that led to the 1993 study and report regarding the needs of older Islanders.
From this report came the creation of “Island Info” that soon was incorporated as a community organization known as C.I.D.E.R. on May 25, 1993, our official birthday!
The other recipients of the initial Outstanding Neighbor Award each contributed in their own special way.
Ron and Celia Hackett opened up their lawn, barn, cooler, home and hearts to us as the site for our early fund-raising events such as the Apple Blossom Barn and Bake (later Book) Sale and our hot dog and soft pretzel stand during Applefest.
The funds and friends we made at those events were critical to our early success.
Barb Winch was the volunteer who first answered the phone when people called Island Info/C.I.D.E.R. Since those early days, Barb has continued to help with the monthly newsletter and other mailings and pitch in whenever and wherever asked.
Jackie Ward presenting an Outstanding Neighbor Award to Guy Winch for his wife, Barbara. Barb was the first person to answer the phone for CIDER in the early 90”s and continued to volunteer with the newsletter and other mailings until very recently.
Lorrie Janick has been a part of our senior meals program for most of our history, served as our baker for many years and continues to help our cook, Kelly Robinson, in the kitchen almost every week. Lorrie also served for many years on the C.I.D.E.R. Board Finance Committee.
Joyce Ladd is one of the original volunteer drivers recruited in 1994 and continues to be one of our most active and reliable volunteers. Our best estimate is that Joyce has driven almost 100,000 miles bringing individuals to medical appointments, equal to 4 times around the earth at the equator!
In addition to the Outstanding Neighbor Awards, and a delicious dinner prepared and served by Rick Bellows and his staff.
A brief business meeting followed during which Dave Davis (North Hero), Marie Kilbride (North Hero), Bob Pettigrew (Isle La Motte), and Kathy Tatro (Alburgh) were elected to serve on the C.ID.E.R. Board of Directors. Judy Duval (South Hero) was re-elected to a second 3-year term. Membership dues were again set at the traditional $2 per year.
By Sarah Warren
SOUTH HERO - Community Bank N.A. branches across New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts celebrated National Good Neighbor Day this year on Sept. 28 by engaging in neighborly activities and donating to community causes. In total, Community Bank N.A. donated $55,250 to local nonprofits throughout its four-state footprint, with 32 branches across New England contributing $8,000 to local nonprofits of their choice.
From raking leaves and washing windows to hosting bake sales and food drives, more than 90 branches joined the celebration to spread neighborly spirit. Locally, the South Hero branch participated by hosting a bake sale and food drive to benefit Grand Isle County Food Shelf. The team wore aprons and chef hats all day on Sept. 28 to raise awareness for the cause.
“As a community bank, being a good neighbor and an active participant in our community is part of our core values,” Community Bank N.A. South Hero Branch Manager Barry Fauteux said. “We are not just your local teller or branch manager, we live here in Grand Isle County and we are invested in our region’s future. National Good Neighbor Day was a chance to thank and highlight our neighbors who do so much for our community.”
National Good Neighbor Day was created in 1971 by Becky Mattson from Lakeside, Montana, and proclaimed a national day by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 to raise public awareness that good neighbors help achieve human understanding and build strong, thriving communities. It is celebrated annually on Sept. 28 as a day of gratitude and community building.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
SOUTH HERO -- A Korean War veteran from South Hero finally got to take “The Flight.”
Leonard Brisson, 87, was one of 16 military veterans selected to participate in a recent North Country Honor Flight between Plattsburgh, N.Y. and Washington D.C.
“The Flight” is designed to provide World War II and Korean War veterans a chance to visit the nation’s capital and be honored for their sacrifice to ensure freedom for the United States.
“It was special. It was the thrill of my lifetime,” Brisson told The Islander.
The veterans were greeted by hundreds of supporters at Washington Dulles International Airport. There was two rows of greeters waiting for them to offer applause, Brisson said.
The honorees drove by the Iwo Jima Memorial. The veterans later witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Brisson and his comrades proceeded to the World War II Memorial, followed by the Korean War and Vietnam Veterans Memorials.
They walked by the Lincoln Memorial and drove by the Navy Memorial. Their last stop was the U.S. Air Force Memorial.
“I can’t explain how beautiful a trip it was,” Brisson said.
Each veteran, some needing medical assistance or wheelchairs, traveled with a “guardian” to help them throughout the active day. Timothy Brisson served as the guardian for his father during the trip.
It was a weekend to remember for Leonard Brisson and the other veterans, including one now living in Williston, John Roach.
Brisson and Roach, who is a Rutland native, had both enlisted one day apart in January 1951. Within a day or so they boarded a train for Albany, N.Y. and eventually went to basic training in Texas.
“He went one way. I went another,” Brisson said about their military careers.
The two Vermont veterans had not seen each other in 67 years, Brisson and Roach told The Islander this week. They reconnected a few months ago when they learned they had been selected for the special Washington trip, Roach said.
“It is something that I will never forget,” Roach said. During the Korean War, the military came home and there was no real welcome for the veterans.
Roach now volunteers one day a week at the Vermont National Guard Library and Museum in Colchester.
Brisson said he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951-1955 as a mechanic on emergency generators and transmitters. He served in Korea for one year.
Brisson was born in Alburgh, lived short stints in North Hero and Grand Isle and settled in South Hero in 1958. He worked for Citizens Utilities for 17 years and later moved on to the University of Vermont, where he retired as a
“He had an amazing time and they do such a wonderful job honoring our veterans,” said his granddaughter, Jennifer McAllister of South Hero, about the Sept. 1 visit.
The North Country group, which is based in Plattsburgh, is part of a national network looking for family and friends of additional veterans that should take the trip.
Roach said while the 16 veterans on the Plattsburgh flight were in Washington they came across another Honor Flight group of 75 veterans from Florida having the same red carpet treatment.
Because the festivities began in Plattsburgh about 6 a.m., Brisson opted to get a hotel room in New York.
Vermont State Police, which had escorted the other Vermont veteran, Roach, from Williston to South Hero, added a second marked cruiser to go with the 15-20 motorcycles in the procession to the Lake Champlain Ferry in Grand Isle, McAllister said.
Brisson said New York State Police were waiting at Cumberland Head to escort them to the hotel.
McAllister said her family was so excited the kids insisted everybody roll out of bed by 4:30 a.m. so they could get to the Plattsburgh hotel and see the escort to the old U.S. Air Force Base for the sendoff ceremony.
McAllister estimated close to a hundred motorcycles with combat veterans were there as part of the ceremony.
North Country Honor Flight (NCHF) exists to keep President Harry Truman’s promise to our veterans that Americans will never forget their sacrifices.
Since 2013 when NCHF was founded there have been 25 flights with more than 300 veterans traveling to Washington, D.C.
The North Country Honor Flight plans its fourth flight of this year Oct. 29.
The website is: http://www.nchonorflight.org/ for additional information, including to nominate a veteran, to volunteer or to make a donation.
Out of the 16 million World War II veterans, roughly a million are believed to still be alive. Time is running out because the average age of WWII veterans is over 92.
“The time to show our respect and appreciation for these soldiers is now,” the Honor Flight website notes.