The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association, Andrea Solomon and David Clark are 2012 Chamber Award Recipients

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The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association, Andrea Solomon and David Clark are 2012 Chamber Award Recipients

By Sue Hoxie

New Board of Directors for Chamber is Elected; Chairman’s Award Presented to BMP’s Donna Donahue

Middlebury, Vermont – September 11, 2012 – The Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized local businesses, organizations, and individuals with its annual awards during the Chamber’s annual meeting held on September 6th at the Vergennes Opera House. Five awards were presented in front of a crowd of nearly 100 attendees which included Chamber members and local business people. In addition to the award presentations, the Chamber membership voted on a new board of directors.

The Vermont Book Shop was presented with the Business of the Year Award which is given to a business located in Addison County that demonstrates excellent business practices and provides a positive impact on the community. According to the nomination that was submitted, “Small businesses need to be recognized; especially in these hard economic times and when competition is unseen but felt—the Internet. The Vermont Book Shop has always worked to create a personality, an image of a unique book shop—to stand out from all competition—as well as being a contributing community leader. This is a perfect time for ACCOC and its membership to thank owner Becky Dayton and her staff for their contribution to our countywide community and keeping the store alive, active and vibrant.”

In addition to the Business of the Year award, the Addison County Chamber presented its Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award which is given to an individual who has made numerous contributions to the community without the expectation of acknowledgement. This year two recipients were presented with the award: Andrea Solomon, a former Middlebury resident, community volunteer and college employee; and David Clark, director of Ilsley Public Library.

Holmes Jacobs, co-owner of Two Brothers Tavern, both nominated and presented Solomon with her award. Jacobs said in his remarks, “While raising a family and holding down a full time job at Middlebury College, Andrea Solomon seems to have spent every remaining waking minute dedicated to philanthropic pursuits in and around Middlebury and greater Addison County. Her invaluable work to help support our neighbors in need while volunteering her time on the HOPE board touched and enriched the lives of Vermonters in every corner of the county and beyond. Additionally, Andrea’s dedication and help in coordinating the Middlebury Maple Run, the Middlebury Ski League and the Vermont Chili Festival has been an invaluable part of bringing thousands of people to Addison County to celebrate our region and further help raise tens of thousands of dollars for our neighbors in need throughout the entire state.  Simply put, if everyone contributed the amount of time and energy to enrich our region that Andrea has, we would all be living in a place of even more unimaginable beauty.”

The nomination and presentation to David Clark was equally eloquent: His nominator* said:  “I know David from his amazing work as Director of Ilsley Library as well as board member and President of Opera Company of Middlebury. I am aware that he makes many other contributions to our town in other organizations (Rotary, Better Middlebury Partnership, and probably others I don't know!). He is a strong but gentle leader, who never forces anyone in a particular direction, but is able to encourage others to work hard toward a goal and improve their organization at every step. The more I get to know David, the more I admire these qualities in particular.”

During his 16 years as the Director of the Ilsley Public Library he transformed it so that it continues to be relevant in the digital age by being a true community center, a “living library” as he puts it. He has been very active in the association of Addison County Libraries. He led the effort to institute the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in our county through which preschool children are sent a book per month in order to instill a love of reading. David found funding for the program through the Middlebury Rotary Club. David’s involvement with the Middlebury Opera Company exemplifies his quiet, effective leadership. He started recruiting people for the endeavor when it was just a dream. In the past 10 years it has gone from an idea to what has been described as an emerging professional regional opera company.

The Chamber’s Community Achievement Award is given to a not-for-profit organization for outstanding services and leadership to the community. The Chamber recognized Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association (MVAA). In the words of MVAA’s nominator*: “I nominate the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association for increasing services to the level of modern paramedic care which not only serves the ten towns of Middlebury, Salisbury, Ripton, New Haven, Weybridge, Cornwall, Bridport, Shoreham, Whiting, and Orwell, but also providing intercept care for Vergennes Rescue, Bristol Rescue, and Brandon Rescue services, essentially covering the entire county. They have engaged in collaborative efforts that have resulted in more efficient care processes for those who need MVAA services. They’ve worked with Middlebury College to establish a student-based response team and an intern program that adds significantly to the volunteer community service mission of MVAA. They also have improved business practices that have resulted in an increase in services and cost-efficient operations that have allowed for the termination of municipal funding (the first time in decades).”

“MVAA is truly deserving of the Chamber’s 2012 Community Achievement Award for the vital and excellent service they provide, for the significant investment in their new center and certainly for their fiscal responsibility. Perhaps most importantly it is a very comforting to know that should any of us or any of our families need them, they are ready to assist us at a moment’s notice,” the nominator concluded.

Donna Donahue, past president of Better Middlebury Partnership, was recognized by outgoing chairperson Jeff Costello with a Chairman’s Award. The Chairman’s Award is presented to an individual or business that has donated time and effort for the continuing benefit of the Chamber.

Annual meeting attendees voted on the board of directors for the 2012-2013 year. New to the board this year are Geoff Conrad, Middlebury Inn; Larry Goetschius, Addison County Home Health & Hospice; Sal Morana, Porter Medical Center; and Shawn Oxford, Bristol Financial Services. All are serving one-year terms expiring at the 2013 annual meeting. The board and members of the Chamber recognized Dan Brown, Swift House Inn; Donna Donahue, Better Middlebury Partnership; Robin Huestis, Round Robin Resale; Kris Merchant, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom; and Bill Townsend, J.P. Carrara & Sons who are leaving the board after serving their terms. Jeff Costello, Costello Home Works, is the outgoing chairperson while, Tim Buskey, Vergennes Residential Care Home is the incoming chairperson. Other board members include:

  • Bonita Bedard, Vermont HoneyLights, representing Five Town Business Council
  • Sam Cutting IV, Dakin Farms
  • **Don Devost, Addison Advisors
  • David Donahue, Middlebury College
  • **Andy Mayer, Addison County Chamber
  • **Kate McGowan, United Way of Addison County
  • Kelley Mills, Hannaford Career Center
  • **Steve Misasi, Misasi & Misasi, PC
  • Darcy Tarte, Peoples United Bank, representing Addison County Economic Development Corporation
  • Bill Sayre, A. Johnson Lumber Company, representing Addison County Regional Planning Commission
  • Grover Usilton, National Bank of Middlebury
  • Ben Wilson, Middlebury College, representing Better Middlebury Partnership

About Addison County Chamber of Commerce

The Addison County Chamber of Commerce (ACCOC) is an association of individuals representing business interests, working together to promote commercial business and tourism in Addison County. The Chamber can be found on the Web at


* Nominations for David Clark and MVAA were submitted anonymously.
** Designates Chamber Officers

Media Inquiries:

Sue Hoxie
Addison County Chamber of Commerce
93 Court Street
Middlebury VT  05753
p: 802-388-7951

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A selection of hi-res images are available for download. Please credit: "Courtesy of Addison County Chamber of Commerce".

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