BELLOWS FALLS -- Brent Lisai is the third generation of his family to serve the village as a merchant and, as of Wednesday, the second generation to be honored as "Person of the Year" by the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce (GFRCC).
Lisai, the owner of Lisai's Market, was announced as the award's recipient this week, 26 years after his father Leonard was given the same honor. He also serves as the fireworks chairman for Old Home Days, a beloved tradition in Bellows Falls, like his dad used to.
Lisai's selection was kept a secret until the chamber of commerce's dinner at the Bellows Falls Moose Club on Wednesday. The award ceremony has been held annually since 1973.
"I was very surprised. I was honored," he said, adding that his two daughters and granddaughter attended with him. "I was pretty nervous about the whole things beforehand. It was a very nice night -- very good food."
The theme this year was "Made in the USA," and dinner consisted of steak and chicken with baked potatoes, roasted root vegetables and a hot fudge sundae bar for dessert. GFRCC Treasurer Katie Dearborn said she and Executive Director Roger Riccio spent all day cooking the food and had about 120 people in attendance. She said the event raised roughly $700 to $800 for the chamber.
Dearborn was also the one that nominated Lisai for the award, citing his selfless service to the village.
"He has been a part of the community for many years. He is the kind of person who has the tendency to not say, ‘No,'" she told the Reformer. "He values the community. He sees good in the community and he deserved to be recognized."
Dearborn said Lisai has stepped up and filled the expectations that come along with the Lisai name.
The award Lisai was given was a hand-blown glass piece made by glass artist Christopher Sherwin.
Riccio said Lisai was a very worthy recipient due to his work with the fireworks and his volunteerism with the local fire department.
Lisai has owned the market for 25 of the 85 years it has been in business. He said he is glad to have followed in his father's footsteps but is ready to soon hand off the company to his nephews.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.