Betty Haggerty (submitted photo)
Betty Haggerty (submitted photo)
Thursday April 11, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- Betty Haggerty is a great mother.

And now she can prove it.

The village resident was named the 2013 Vermont Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc. and the honor bestowed upon her was commemorated with a reception at the United Church of Bellows Falls on Saturday.

"One word that comes to mind is ‘overwhelming,'" Haggerty told the Reformer. "I do feel extremely humbled but I am proud of it, too."

American Mothers, Inc. is an interfaith, non-political and non-profit organization that recognizes the role of motherhood.

Haggerty was nominated by longtime friend Barbara Comtois, who also nominated the late Beatrice Fisher, a Grafton resident who died in February. Comtois said Haggerty fit all the criteria for the honor and does a lot of community work.

Haggerty, who raised a son and daughter with the help of her husband Hugh, was asked to put together a portfolio after her nomination, which she did after contemplating whether she was worthy of the honor.

She has been involved with the United Church of Bellows Falls, her sponsor church, since 1981 and has served on its boards of deacons, of trustees and of missions. Haggerty has also been an assistant treasurer and has served on the pastoral search committee.

Also on her résumé is time as the vice president, co-president and recording secretary for the Bellows Falls Woman's Club and as a trustee for the Rockingham Free Public Library.

According to her portfolio, she defined parenting as a role for which there is no dress rehearsal.

"As with any play or production, it takes practice to get it down. You also draw upon your experiences as a child of, hopefully, loving and nurturing parents. You are your child's first teachers and how you model life shows in how they conduct their lives," she stated. "Quality time spent with your children pays big dividends. Life as a parent is not always easy or perfect. You need to acknowledge and learn from your shortcomings and mistakes. Being consistent and realistic, but not rigid, in your expectations of your children is important."

Haggerty takes pride in being a native Vermonter, having been born in Northfield in 1944. Her portfolio states she was the youngest of three children and graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in elementary education in 1966. That same year, she married her husband, who was also a teacher and a school administrator.

In 1978, Hugh accepted a school superintendent position and the family moved to Bellows Falls. Haggerty started working at Falls Playschool four years later. She taught at and directed the nursery school for 17 years before retiring in 1999.

Despite the recent recognition, Haggerty seems to have stayed as modest as ever.

"I do not like to be front and center and I simply enjoy going about doing what I do for the family, church, and community," she said.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.