Groundworks praises departing board members

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BRATTLEBORO — Groundworks Collaborative recently bid farewell to three board members who the organization says have given great dedication during their respective terms on the Groundworks Board.

Peter "Fish" Case is wrapping up his service at the close of two 3-year terms on the Board, during which he served as vice president and chair of the Development Committee. Case had been a member of the Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center Board prior to the merger that created Groundworks Collaborative. Among many efforts to publicize the importance of Groundworks' work in the community, Case's service included launching the first Load the Latchis Food Drive in 2011 — the summer that Tropical Storm Irene hit and the Brooks House burned, leaving a number of neighbors without housing. Load the Latchis has become a pivotal event each summer, raising cash and food items to keep the shelves stocked at Groundworks' food shelf program known as Foodworks.

"You have a huge heart, Fish. You are one of Brattleboro's true angels!" said Nancy Heydinger recently when contributing to Case's Hike for the Homeless fundraising effort.

Asked for a comment, Vickie Case said of her husband, "When I think about Pete what comes immediately to mind is his passion for our community. He will help whatever non-profit he can or business that needs help. He is loyal, he is honest, he is hardworking, but most of all he is funny! Very funny! But don't tell him I said so because I never laugh at his jokes and it drives him crazy! Peter "Fish" Case is truly one of a kind!"

Chad Farnum leaves the Groundworks Board after his second 3-year term. During his time on the board, Farnum has served multiple terms as board president, chaired several board and event committees, and has been an "outstanding fundraiser" for the organization. Farnum served on the Morningside Shelter Board prior to the merger that created Groundworks.

When Groundworks needed a truck to put an end to years of renting one twice each week to pick up food from the Vermont Foodbank, Farnum and his company donated a Farnum Insulators box truck to Groundworks. Now, the truck allows the Foodworks team to travel as far as Wilmington to save perfectly good food from going to waste so it can get to people who need it.

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Amelia Farnum writes, "I have a hard time expressing just how much pride I feel for all the hard work that my husband Chad has invested in the Groundworks organization over the past six years. He joined the board wanting to make a difference in our community and in his quiet, friendly way, he has most certainly helped a strong organization become even stronger."

Tom Zopf leaves the board of Groundworks Collaborative after one 3-year term — having been the very first new board member elected to the Groundworks Board after the 2015 merger. Zopf served on the Development Committee and Changeworks advocacy committee. A strong advocate for neighbors without housing, Zopf attends Select Board meetings frequently, often speaking up to offer a thoughtful point-of-view on how to treat fellow neighbors.

Ann Fielder, the incoming chair of the Groundworks Board, said of Zopf that he has "brought so much compassion and understanding of our neediest neighbors. He is a very gentle man with a sweet and open heart. We will miss his perspective."

These are just a few examples of the many ways members of the Groundworks Board go above and beyond for the organization.

"It is no small thing to serve on the Groundworks Board," said Executive Director Josh Davis. "We ask a lot of our board members and those who join us understand that it's more of a commitment than just showing up to the meeting every month. We truly appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that goes into making this a strong organization. I'm very grateful for Chad, Peter and Tom's service."

Groundworks has welcomed a number of new board members in the past few months: Craig Hammond of Brattleboro, Jody Mattulke of West Chesterfield, and Charlie Raubicheck of Putney join Ann Fielder (president), Rita Ramirez (vice president), Stephanie Huestis (treasurer), Beth Kiendl (secretary), Bruce Berg, Drew Gradinger, Sara Ryan, Andrew Shepard and Meg York.


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