Monday February 25, 2013

Editor of the Reformer:

I wanted to send out a very warm and grateful thank you to Lydia Thompson and the River Gallery School for hosting Compass School supporters for a Sequencing Class last Sunday. The opportunity was made possible by a generous donation to support Compass School’s financial aid program. Compass is committed to offering a hands-on, relevant academic program for 7-12 grade students and support helps ensure the program is accessible to our many deserving students.

The art class made for an amazing event, bringing together a unique group of friends, parents, alumni, and staff to enjoy the wonders of RGS and the beautiful products this process creates -- making us all feel some pride in our inner artist. Thanks to all who helped make it possible.

Betsy Jaffe,
Director of Development and Admissions

Compass School, Westminster, Jan. 30 ***

Editor of the Reformer:

Although Tropical Storm Irene may seem like a long ago event, some homeowners in Windham County still struggle to recover.

Following the storm, nearly 1,500 Windham County households registered with FEMA. The Southeastern VT Long Term Recovery Committee (SEVT LTRC), one of nine committees created by Gov. Shumlin to assist survivors, found 300 households with unmet needs such as interior/exterior home repairs; drainage, well and septic issues; mold mitigation; and driveway repairs.

So far over 100 homeowners have been helped with these needs and with mobile home replacement, home rebuilds, purchase of materials, moving, and new furniture delivery. The SEVT LTRC received over $300,000 in local contributions, including a $50,000 matching grant from Entergy, Inc. Generous funding was available through the Vermont Disaster Recovery Fund and Pomerleau Cornerstone Fund. Several local organizations provided funding for the many costs associated with recovery. Our county also received a share of the Rotary International $412,000 Vermont Recovery Matching Grant for Irene recovery.

With heartfelt thanks, I would like to acknowledge the generosity of all who have donated money, volunteer hours, tools and materials, skills, and compassion to help. Case managers Mary Ann Wolfe, Tyler Maas, Elizabeth McEwen, and Melanie Gaier have visited survivors, listened to their stories, developed recovery plans, sought resources, and remain advocates for their clients until each case is closed. They are the soldiers in the field.

Volunteer coordinators Deb Bunker, Laura Schairbaum, and Tom Nunziata; construction coordinator Bobby Powers and assistant Eric Lunde; PR specialists Glenn Herrin and Deb Holman; and several AmeriCorps interns all have contributed to the recovery effort.

I’d like to thank SEVT LTRC advisory board, professionals with local agencies who meet two to four times monthly, giving tirelessly to the recovery effort: Pat Burke, SEVCA; Sadie Fischesser, AHS; Sue Graff, UWWC; Gretchen Havreluk, formerly with BDCC; Randy Hesse, independent contractor; Dinah Reed, WRC; Jill Spiro, W-WHT. As the link to local faith communities, I am honored to serve as chair.

Many others have stepped forward to assist. To name a few: Gail Nunziata organized a successful fundraiser at Latchis Theater; Randy Ziter offered the Putney Inn for a volunteers celebration; Todd Brown used his own equipment for major excavation; Centre Congregational Church, Hallelujah Farm and Marlboro College housed volunteer work groups.

Volunteers from SIT/World Learning Youth Programs, Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club, Deerfield Valley Rescue, Keene State College Campus Ministry, University of New Hampshire, Richmond Congregational Church UCC (VT), New Goshenhoppen United Church of Christ (PA), AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), the Weil family from Silver Spring (MD), Western New England University, Marlboro College, and so many local volunteers have worked nearly 3,000 hours at 60 projects.

The faith community has been deeply involved. The National Disaster Ministry (United Church of Christ) donated a tool trailer, an invaluable asset for our construction managers and volunteers. Local congregations contributed tools and offered housing and meals for volunteers. The Episcopal Relief Fund and Catholic Charities generously granted funds, and congregations of all faiths reached out to neighbors with hands and hearts. On September 28, one year after Irene struck, the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Clergy Association held a candlelight vigil on the Commons, with music by Hallowell Singers, so people of all persuasions could stand together in remembrance, gratitude, solidarity and hope, knowing there was more work to do.

If you need help, the application deadline is February 15. Contact the Disaster Recovery Service at 800-464-9951 or mwolf@sevca.org. If you would like to donate money, goods, time, or services, please contact United Way of Windham County at 802-257-4011 or info@unitedwaywindham.org. We expect to provide assistance through August of this year.

Vermont’s state motto is "freedom and unity": freedom shows in the strength of character and resilience of her people; unity is demonstrated in strength of our communities as neighbor reaches out to neighbor. VERMONT STRONG? YES!

Rev. Sandy Daly

Chair, SEVT LTRC advisory board

Chair, Brattleboro Area Interfaith Clergy Association, Feb. 5

***

Editor of the Reformer:

Hilltop House Senior Residence Facility, 65 Harris Avenue, Brattleboro, extends to the community heartfelt gratitude for the support shown during the Dessert Gala and Silent Auction held on Sunday, Feb. 10. Originally scheduled for Feb. 8, the impending snowstorm necessitated a move to Sunday afternoon and the community met the challenge and provided Hilltop House with the most successful event ever held!

The goal of the Dessert Gala and Silent Auction is to welcome the community into the gracious Victorian mansion, visit with our residents, meet board members and volunteers, and enjoy a wide array of desserts and to have fun bidding on silent auction items. Thirtysix wonderful auction items were available this year thanks to the generosity of: Ruth Barton, Meg and Tom Harriman, Michelle Liechti, Wendy and Art Magnaghi, Carlene and Bill McCarty, Helen and Guy Wachtel, Judy and Wayne Wagenbach, Enid and Robert Wainwright, Susan and Michael Wilmott, James Wilmott, Margaret Winn, Edie and Dan Yates, Agway (Brattleboro), Enchanted Bakery (Chesterfield, N.H.), Enright & Co. (Brattleboro), Forest Heavens (Brattleboro), Offerings (Putney), One Stop Pet (Brattleboro), SideHill Farms (Brattleboro), Mr, G’s (Walpole, N.H.), Dottie’s (Brattleboro), Staples (Brattleboro), Windham Flowers (Brattleboro) and General Linen Service. The delicious desserts were donated by a host of businesses and individuals: Edie Yates, Peter Havens, Chesterfield Inn, Judy Wagenbach, Vermont Country Deli, Susan Wilmott, BMH Jamie Baribeau, Anna Piergentili, Fireworks, Margaret Winn, Craig Newbert, The Marina, Sharon Myers, Newfane Creamery, Helen Wachtel, Enid Wainwright, Winnie Vogt, New England House, Amy’s Bakery Arts, Phillip Wilson, Gillies, Jane Dewey, Jasmine’s Bakery, Enchanted Bakery,The Brattleboro Food Co-op, and TJ Buckley’s. Thank you all for your very important participation in the Hilltop House Dessert Gala and Silent Auction, you made the success possible! Thank you to the wonderful community members who were in attendance at the Gala!

Judith Wagenbach,
Hilltop House Volunteer

Brattleboro, Feb.