Thursday April 21, 2016
Whether it’s responding to emergency calls at a moment’s notice, planning for careful development, or creating a peaceful place for children to play, a lot goes into creating a vibrant and desirable city — and there are many people behind-the-scenes who help make it all happen.
Those people are your neighbors, your family, and your friends who serve as public officials and volunteers who work for little-to-no pay out of their love for their communities.
On April 14, Chittenden County officials and volunteers received the recognition they deserve at the 2016 Vermont Public Service Award Ceremony. The awards were presented by Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos at the South Burlington High School.
Every five years, these awards are given to elected or appointed officials as well as fire and police service members who have served their communities for 20 years or more. Condos and legislators are traveling throughout the state to recognize public servants in every county. South Burlington legislators Rep. Maida Townsend, Rep. Ann Pugh, and Rep. Martin LaLonde were present during the April 14 award ceremony, as well as Rep. Terence Macaig, Rep. Joan Lenes, Sen. David Zuckerman, and Sen. Virginia “Ginny” Lyons.
There were 23 South Burlington nominees this year, including Burlington resident Sue Alenick who has been taking minutes for several South Burlington boards and committees since 1981.
“They serve vital roles, these people do,” Condos said, beaming at the audience in the high school auditorium. “They run our elections, they keep the roads in good repair and passable even when we have our toughest winters, they plan for the growth of our communities, they help keep our towns safe, they fight the fires, they respond to emergencies, they serve on school boards, and they provide many other necessary roles that many of us take for granted, but they are certainly a gift to our communities.”
Condos listed names in four-year increments, starting with 20-24 years of service.
20-24 years of service:
Tim Barritt (21 years; Development Review Board, Library Board of Trustees, Correctional Center Rep)
Marcel Beaudin (20 years; Planning Commission, Design Review Committee, Regional Planning Organization)
Lou Bresee (21 years; Recreation Path)
Jim Condos (21 years, City Council, Zoning Board of Adjustment)
Mary Ann Gucciardi (23 years; Recreation Committee)
George Mona (20 years; City Council, Planning Commission & Economic Development)
Pat Nowak (21 years; City Council, Justice of the Peace)
Elizabeth Robitaille (22 years; Recreation and Leisure Arts Committee)
Lisa Yankowski (20 years; Red Rocks Committee)
25-29 years of service:
William Cimonetti (27 years; Justice of the Peace, City Council, Charter Committee, Recreation Committee)
Joe Hameline (29 years; Recreation Committee)
Frank Mazur (27 years; Justice of the Peace, Economic Development, CCTA)
Ann Pugh (28 years; Justice of the Peace, Planning Commission, State Representative)
Peter Taylor (29 years; Justice of the Peace, Charter Committee)
30-34 years of service:
Barbara Bull (30 years; Red Rocks Committee)
William Szymanski (32 years; Cemetery Commission, Water Commissioner)
35-39 years of service:
Sue Alenick (35 years; Minute-taker)
William Burgess (37 years; City Council, Justice of the Peace, Planning Commission, Water Commission)
John Dinklage (35 years; Design Review, Justice of the Prace, City Council, Charter Committee, Board of Adjustment, Recreation Committee)
Mary Barbara Mahar (36 years; Justice of the Peace, Planning Commission and South Burlington Representative)
Bill Wessel (36 years; CCTA, Planning Commission)
40-44 years of service:
Ethel Schuele (43 years; Leisure Arts/Fine Arts, Library Board of Trustees, Red Rocks Committee)
William Schuele (41 years; Natural Resources Committee)
Following the ceremony, South Burlington nominees crossed the street to City Hall for a reception to celebrate their efforts.
“Sue reminded me that she was the minute-taker at my very first public meeting,” Condos said with a chuckle. “Barbara Bull, we wouldn’t have Red Rocks without her and the Schueles...When Sonny Audette was here, he knew where everything underground was!”
“This is the second one [ceremony] we’ve done over the counties so far. It’s just a lot of good people serving their communities, and they do it from in here,” he added, resting his hand on his heart.
Councilor Pat Nowak expressed gratitude toward the people she has “been privileged to work with and for,” she said.
“We are what we are today because of what came before...Thank you for everything that all of you have done and continue to do.”
“You’d never imagine that 21 years would fly by that fast!” Councilor Tim Barritt said. “There are a lot of changes that have happened since I moved to the city and there are more changes to come. I look forward to working with everyone who’s here tonight and the others in the future that will volunteer. It’s an excellent opportunity; if you know people, please ask them to come volunteer!”
Special thanks also went out to those who helped organize the evening, including City Clerk Donna Kinville, Director of Planning and Zoning Paul Conner, and Recreation Director Maggie Leugers.
“On behalf of the city, I just want to thank all of you for your years of service, the dedication, the commitment you’ve had, and really the legacy that you have left for the rest of us,” Deputy City Manager Tom Hubbard said. “In this room is almost 500 years of community service.”
In addition to their service award letters and pins, each South Burlington nominee received a plaque with a photo of South Burlington taken by resident Bernie Paquette with the message, “Thank you for your service” included.
As South Burlington continues to evolve, remember to thank those who answer your emergency calls, improve city infrastructure, or invite you to meetings concerning the future. They, with your help and support, hold the key to a better South Burlington.