Middlebury

2004 Middlebury College Public Service Leadership Awards conferred April 20

April 23, 2004

Release date: April 23, 2004

Nominees for the annual Middlebury College Public Service Leadership Award all received citations of commendation for their volunteer efforts toward the common good.Photograph by Paul Gamba
MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Fifty-six Middlebury College students received citations of commendation for volunteerism in the local community at the 11th annual Public Service Leadership Award dinner held at the College last night, on Tuesday, April 20. Of the record-breaking number of students nominated by service agencies, schools and individuals in Addison County, six garnered special recognition with 2004 Public Service Leadership Awards for their service contributions on campus and in the greater community, and two additional students received newly named service awards. A commemorative service award was conferred upon Jason Fleishman, a student nominated posthumously for his energetic commitment to public service efforts prior to his death earlier this year. 

Bonnie and John McCardell with Tiffany Sarget (right) when she surprised them with honorary public service leadership awards.

Photograph by Paul GambaOne of the new awards, named for President John M. McCardell, Jr., was given, in honor of the service values to which McCardell has been strongly committed during his tenure as president, to the student who best exemplifies efforts that bring Middlebury, both the Town and College, together. The second new award is named for Bonnie McCardell in honor of her many services to the community, and given to a student for exemplary volunteerism that targets the support of young people in one or more of three areas: youth and family services, literacy, or the special needs of youth in middle and early high school years.

Additionally, in commendation for their long-standing leadership in the cause of public service as an educational and life-time goal, the McCardells, who did not know beforehand of the surprise presentation, each received honorary public service leadership awards.

A $300 donation will be made by the College on behalf of each award-winner to a nonprofit agency designated by the student. A total of $3,300 will be distributed as a result of the 2004 awards. In its 11-year history, more than $16,000 has been donated by the College on behalf of more than 300 public service award recipients.

Butch Varno (far right) shares a table with student Sara Smith (second from right) and other guests while they applaud the conferral of citations at the award dinner.

Photograph by Paul Gamba.At the dinner, President McCardell told honorees that the public service aspect of student life ranks among the most noteworthy of achievements. "This evening, we shine the spotlight on your contributions," said McCardell. "You carry on the important tradition of those student volunteers who have gone before you, a tradition that continues to be one of the most respected on this campus."

It is estimated that more than half of the College's students have been engaged in community service projects or service-related initiatives this year. More than 500 students are involved in ongoing projects, providing a minimum of two hours per week for dozens of agencies and individuals, amounting to more than 28,000 hours of student volunteer effort per academic year-the equivalent of more than a dozen people working for the needs of the community full-time, year-round.

Guest speaker Rev. Nancy Hamilton Shepherd praises volunteers for their efforts in the community.

Photograph by Paul Gamba.Rev. Nancy Hamilton Shepherd, a 1953 Middlebury graduate, was the evening's keynote speaker.  Shepherd and her husband, Tom Shepherd, developed Washington & Lee University's Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability, which encourages students to study the roots of poverty, and provides opportunities for internships in the field as well as participation in other related programs.

Tiffany Nourse Sargent, director of the Middlebury College Alliance for Civic Engagement was commended during Tuesday's award ceremony for her dedication to the College's entire volunteer program.

The 2004 Middlebury College Public Service Leadership Award recipients were:

Jason Fleishman, formerly of Vail, Colo., who graduated from Middlebury in January 2004 before his untimely death. A commemorative award for public service with the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont was posthumously conferred, with Audrey Butler, executive director of the agency, accepting on his behalf.

Eric Blacher and Tiffany Sargent listen as McCardell describes Blacher's extensive volunteer efforts with the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association.

Photograph by Paul Gamba.Other recipients were:

Senior Eric Blacher, of Miami, Fla., for service to the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association and the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department; sophomore Ashley Calkins, of Iowa City, Iowa, for service to the Middlebury College PagAshley Calkins, flanked by McCardell and Sargent, is honored for her leadership and service to the Middlebury College Page 1 Literacy Project.

Photograph by Paul Gamba.e 1 Literacy Project; Ross Lieb-Lappen, a first-year student fromRoss Lieb-Lappen received the award for his efforts on behalf of the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" at Middlebury College, to be held on April 30.

Photograph by Paul Gamba. Cohasset, Mass., for volunteerism with the American Cancer Society "Relay for Life;" senior Kate Moffet, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., for service to WomenSafe; senior Michael Velez, of South Windsor, Conn., for his service to area schools through the Foundation for Excellent Schools and to Addison County Community Friends; and junior Tina Velez, of Bronx, N.Y., for volunteerism with area Tina Velez is awarded for her volunteerism with the Middlebury College cultural outreach organizations MIX and PALANA Kids.

Photograph by Paul Gamba.elementary schools, the Middlebury College MIX Outreach Program and Middlebury College PALANA Kids.

The recipient of the first John M. McCardell, Jr. Award for Public Service, is senior Sara Smith, of Winslow, Maine, for her volunteerism with Butch's Team at Middlebury.

The recipient of the first Bonnie McCardell Award for Public Service is junior Isaac Pattis, of New Haven, Conn., for service through the Foundation for Excellent Schools to the Hannaford Career Center and the South Lake Service-Learning Program.

The McCardells congratulate Isaac Pattis (right), who received the first Bonnie McCardell Award for Public Service for his volunteerism with the Hannaford Career Center.

Photograph by Paul Gamba.The College's public service leadership awards were initiated in 1993 by Patrick Durkin, a 1979 Middlebury graduate who continues to underwrite the award program. Each year in February or March, the call for nominations goes out to the community to begin the selection process for the awards. Decisions are based on students' demonstrated dedication to a cause, level of help toward making a positive change for an individual or for the community, and initiative toward increasing the awareness and involvement of other Middlebury College students in public service. Each nomination is returned to the College's Alliance for Civic Engagement Office and reviewed by a committee of College students, faculty, and staff.

Brief descriptions of public service rendered follow.

Middlebury College Commemorative Award for Public Service:

Jason B. Fleishman, Class of 2004.

Jason's legacy, a model of strength and open-hearted service to others, exemplifies leadership. He conquered personal adversity with courage and extraordinary effectiveness, schooling himself in areas that he knew to be important, and showing us all the possible. A neuroscience major, he also was an emergency medical technician, served and led the Middlebury College Snow Bowl Ski Patrol, volunteered as a February Outdoor Orientation leader and helped mid-year graduates find the equipment and skills to celebrate on the slopes during the annual ski-down. A member of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont, he was an energetic fundraiser for the agency. He also participated in its support meetings, offering his experience as a resource for many individuals and families, and was an inspiring guest speaker at the 2002 annual meeting. He represented the foundation at a variety of United Way meetings, and, in 2001, was awarded the United Way of Addison County Youth Service Award. In appreciation for his volunteerism and in honor of the great impact his efforts have had on the agency and the families it serves, the Epilepsy Foundation has established two programs in his memory. One, the Jason Fleishman Camp Scholarship Program, will offer children with epilepsy an opportunity to attend camp, helping them to build self-confidence and social and recreational skills. The second program in Jason's honor, the Jason Fleishman College Initiative, will provide, in support of students with epilepsy as they continue their education, the latest information on epilepsy to the staff and students of Vermont colleges.

2004 Middlebury College Public Service Leadership Awards:

Eric S. Blacher, Class of 2005

Eric has served the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association since his sophomore year, providing pre-hospital emergency medical services for patients from 10 towns. Already an EMT-B, he travels to the University of Vermont each week for certification in advanced life support. He is training to be an ambulance driver and a crew chief, and has completed training as a heavy rescue extrication technician. He provides more than twice the required hours of scheduled volunteer time per week, and, in addition, readily covers for other members when needed. In contrast to the 25 calls per year that an average volunteer answers, Eric responds to more than 350. An elected board member, he attends, without fail, meetings for general training, additional meetings for heavy rescue training, board meetings and business meetings, amounting to more than 190 hours of service every month.  According to his fellow rescue team members, he is one of the ambulance service's strongest mentors, demonstrating professional leadership on and off the emergency scene. He has helped provide CPR training, supervision and coaching during in-service training sessions, and, on campus, conducted a drunk-driving motor vehicle crash simulation to further encourage students to incorporate safety-awareness into their lifestyles. He researched and rewrote a comprehensive manual of standard operating guidelines for the MVAA, a copy of which is distributed to every member.  Remarkably focused, reliable, mature, Eric's extensive volunteerism with the MVAA does not deter him from also serving on the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department. His overwhelming energy allows him to further complement his coursework at college by taking to the stage, performing in "The Cherry Orchard," "Clockwork Orange," and, now playing soon in a theatre very near you, "Midwives."

J. Ashley Calkins, Class of 2006

Ashley began volunteering for the Middlebury College Page 1 Literacy Project during her first semester here at Middlebury. She volunteers every week at Mary Hogan School in the "Reading Rocks," "Reading Buddies" and "Homework Club" programs, planning weekly activities and buying and setting up supplies and snacks. Her initiative and dedication have moved her into a leadership position for Page 1. She headed up the writing of the finance committee budget this year, plans the weekly agenda for the executive board meetings and has served as campus co-chair of the leadership board. She is the Page 1 intern for the College's Alliance for Civic Engagement Office, serving more than five hours each week, and spends countless additional hours outside of the office on Page 1 concerns. In the words of a co-worker at the office, without Ashley's work, the annual events and semester-long after-school programs simply would not have happened. This year, Page 1 shifted from being an organization run by a half-time staff coordinator to one fully run by a student crew, and Ashley deserves the bulk of the credit for seeing the program through this successful transition. In addition to participating in the College's Volunteer Fair and Activity Fair to recruit other student volunteers, she has organized programs at local schools and libraries, helping with a series of events such as Middlebury Literacy Action Week, the Halloween Party, the Holiday Party and the Hawaiian Reading Party, and she is currently working on the Spring Reading Carnival.

Ross M. Lieb-Lappen, Class of 2007

Ross has been volunteering with the American Cancer Society's national fundraising campaign called "Relay for Life" for more than two years. He began while in high school, serving on the Relay for Life Committee in his home town of Cohasset, Mass. This year, he initiated the relay at Middlebury, and serves as the event's co-chair. His committed efforts since September, both on campus and in the greater community, above and beyond the normal duties of a co-chair, are responsible for the high level of awareness this community has of Middlebury's first relay, coming up on April 30. His committee of 20 college students, faculty and staff members have, so far, put together 35 teams. Ultimately, more than 600 people are expected to participate in the walkathon behind Youngman field, and Ross' endeavors have helped to raise, at last count, more than $27,863 (see http://www.acsevents.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=42579 for updated figures). His pioneering work to bring the relay into a college arena will serve as an inspiration for other students to make the same fundraising effort on other campuses, benefiting all of us by supporting the American Cancer Society's important research. A first-year student, Ross shows us the kind of energy that makes for an impressive start to an exceptional college career toward the common good. He has an abundance of enthusiasm that is infectious, and, in the words of another volunteer, is "one of the best volunteers I've ever encountered."

Kate Moffet, Class of 2004

Kate has volunteered at WomenSafe for the past year and a half. Among her many other efforts with the agency, she has worked to help staff the 24-hour hotline.  Whether summoned by phone day or night, or by the beeper she carries, Kate has counseled women who have been physically assaulted, sexually abused, or both. In addition to responding to midnight calls from the hospital or police station, she also spends extra hours to fill last-minute requests to staff local resource tables. She has done an enormous amount of work as liaison between WomenSafe and the College's student organization, Feminist Action at Middlebury. Her leadership and effort reached out to every student on campus for "Get Carded Day," a national event sponsored by RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. An advocate for women's rights and safety, Kate's extraordinary level of commitment is demonstrated by the effort she undertook last summer to continue covering the hotline while living and interning in New York City. Allowing her volunteer work to inform the direction of her college career, Kate's academic investigation of the power imbalance between genders and the sexual norms that govern our society exemplifies a seamlessness between college studies and the volunteerism that drives a socially conscious and responsible life.

Michael A. Velez, Class of 2004

Michael has been actively involved in service throughout his four years at Middlebury. In his first week, he participated in the Volunteer Preview Orientation Program, and has continued in a leadership role with the program ever since. He volunteers for the Sherwood Society, a group that sponsors fall and spring fundraisers each year, benefiting such groups as the Addison County Humane Society, Addison County Hospice Volunteer Services, Butch's Team at Middlebury College, the Otter Creek Childcare Center and Special Olympics Vermont. A Community Friends mentor since sophomore year, he also has volunteered at area schools with his hockey teammates through the Foundation for Excellent Schools. Michael has served on campus as the president of the Inter-House Council, president of a social house and a resident advisor.  Michael's leadership qualities-his ability to interact effectively with people of all ages, his focused attitude, enthusiasm, and passion for helping others-make him an inspiring figure both on and off campus.

Tina M. Velez, Class of 2005

An active member of the PALANA Center, Tina is the student coordinator for PALANA Kids-a program designed to bring Middlebury students of diverse cultural backgrounds and races together with area children from multiracial homes. She also spearheads MIX, a student organization that hosts weekly events for children in the community to share experiences and teach each other about many different cultures. MIX also works with Page 1 during their annual reading festival at schools in Ripton and Weybridge. Tina has worked to bring area children into the College community, marshalling a troupe to march in last fall's Carnival parade and orchestrating a youngsters' skit in the International Student Organization's fashion show. She has coordinated sundry other activities, such as apple-picking ventures, potluck dinners and Halloween parties for Middlebury student mentors and area youth to share personal experience, and to grow from that sharing. Tina has the kind of vision and charisma that characterize, in the words of one parent, a born leader-one whose warm manner works together with a responsible attention to organizational detail, a clear-headed approach to concept, and a reliable follow-up process to assure the success of her events, and to attract other volunteers from on and off campus to these programs to spread cultural awareness and understanding.

Bonnie McCardell Award for Public Service:

Isaac J. Pattis, Class of 2005

Isaac has volunteered through the Foundation for Excellent Schools every week for the past two academic years at the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury, where he is a mentor in the Vocational Exploratory Program for at-risk students in the 9th and 10th grades. Working with groups as well as on an individual basis, he provides emotional and academic support for these students, bringing energy and enthusiasm to help foster a healthy and positive classroom environment-and, according to the Hannaford mentor coordinator, better attendance: the younger students look forward to Isaac's instructive and entertaining 2-hour visits, and make sure they get to class so as not to miss them. Isaac has also facilitated college-related activities for the center, bringing students on a campus tour, and organizing athletic and social events to encourage them to consider their higher educational options. He led a winter term project for the Hannaford automotive class that explored alternative fuel systems, helped with a fundraiser for the school's scholarship fund and recruited mentors for other Hannaford Center programs. Isaac also organized educational projects for the Foundation for Excellent Schools' South Lake Service-Learning program in conjunction with other Vermont and New York State schools. In addition to his work at the center, Isaac has volunteered hours to Habitat for Humanity, Spirit in Nature, and as an Addison County Court Diversion board member.

John M. McCardell Jr. Award for Public Service:

Sara E. Smith, Class of 2004

Since her first year at Middlebury, Sara has been a helper and mentor for Butch Varno, a 53-year-old member of the local community with cerebral palsy. Last year, Butch completed his GED, and Sara is now working with him to move forward with his education, and to set new goals. She has tutored him with college-level courses on tape through The Teaching Company, and worked to obtain voice-activated software for his computer to help him further widen his experience. An ongoing Middlebury tradition is "Butch's Team," a group of students who together volunteer in many areas of support for Butch. Each year, new team members are found to take the place of those who have graduated, and Sara was instrumental in assembling this year's volunteers, making sure that Butch continues to receive the companionship he needs for an enriched life, and the tutoring, physical therapy, and rides to and from college athletics events that he so loves. In addition to her efforts recruiting new members of "Butch's Team," Sara visits Butch several times every week, to chat or help him to write letters, make phone calls, work on reading or math, or to take him to the movies, a museum or social event. She also talked with wheelchair distributors and researched the market for more modern alternatives to Butch's existing wheelchair, and started a fundraising effort called "Heave the Heap" to purchase a new one.

Other Public Service Leadership Award nominees who all received citations of commendation:

For their leadership on campus with the Community Friends Sunday Program, Tucker B. Briggs, Class of 2006, Jamie K. Fuchs, Class of 2007, and Elizabeth M. Allen, Class of 2006. Elizabeth also volunteers with the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Organization.

For their service with the Middlebury Fire Department, Eric C. Ambrette, Class of 2004, Christopher M. Loeffler, Class of 2004, and Jonathan C. Duckworth, Class of 2004. Jonathan also volunteers for the Bristol Rescue Squad.

For volunteer service at Project Independence, Nellie Q. Barnard, Class of 2006.

For work with Addison County Community Friends, youth mentoring in the local community and for volunteerism on campus with two student organizations, the Distinguished Men of Color and Alianza Latinoamericana y CaribeƱa, Carlos M. Beato, Class of 2007.

For their service with the Foundation for Excellent Schools mentoring programs at area schools, Allison S. Bell, Class of 2005; Herbert F. Dalton, Class of 2004; Jonathan W. Erwin, Class of 2005. Jonathan also serves with ROTC; Heather E. Gary, Class of 2004; Andrew S. Helming, Class of 2004; Jennifer K. Henzi, Class of 2005; and Kathryn E. Hurd, Class of 2006. Kathryn also volunteers with the Middlebury College Activities Board and the Middlebury College Newman Club.

For efforts with Project Independence and the Middlebury College Public Service Roundtable, Harriet E. Bildsten, Class 2006.

For service to Project Independence, Sienna N. Chambers, Class of 2007.

For work with the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Charles E. Chapin, Class of 2004.

For their leadership in the Middlebury College Alternative Breaks Program, Susannah B. Cowden, Class of 2004. Susannah also serves the Vermont Campus Compact Civic Fellows Program; Annie L. Davies, Class of 2006. Annie also serves the Middlebury College Republicans, Student Government Association, and Habitat for Humanity; Adelaide A. Hearst, Class of 2005; Erin E. Jensen, Class of 2004. Erin also volunteers for the Middlebury College Organic Garden; Jeanette Lam, Class of 2004; Lauren A. F. Miller, Class of 2004; Susannah A. Patty, Class of 2006. Susannah also volunteers for the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Organization, the organic garden, the Middlebury College Public Service Roundtable, the Vermont Campus Compact Civic Fellows Program and the AmeriCorps Education Award Program; Nora O. Segar, Class of 2006; and Sarah F. Weldon, Class of 2005.

For their service to Spirit in Nature, Kelly K. Feeney and Leah B. Koenig, both from the Class of 2004.

For service as the mentor coordinator for the Foundation for Excellent Schools, Adam R. Foote, Class of 2004.

For service to the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Organization, the Middlebury College Volunteer Preview Program, the Vermont Campus Compact Civic Fellows Program and the AmeriCorps Education Award Program, Erica Goodman, Class of 2006.

For work with the Addison County Parent/Child Center, Susan E. Harnett, Class of 2005.

For volunteerism with Addison County Community Friends, the Middlebury College Public Service Roundtable, the Middlebury College Alternative Breaks Program, the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Organization, and the Cystic Fibrosis "Great Strides" Walk, Laura A. Helft, Class of 2006.

For service with the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Organization and for her political awareness outreach efforts, Laurel A. Houghton, Class of 2004.

For volunteerism with the Middlebury College Page 1 Literacy Project and the Middlebury College MIX Outreach Program, Colin J. Meltzer, Class of 2005.

For service with the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association, the Middlebury College Community Council, the Mt. Desert Island Biological Lab, and for his environmental initiatives on campus, William M. Motley, Class of 2006.

For work with Addison County Community Friends and the Middlebury College Winter Carnival Planning Committee, Laura B. Nicola, Class of 2006.

For language outreach efforts at Lincoln Community School, and volunteerism with the Middlebury College Alternative Breaks Program, Emily M. Peterman, Class of 2004.

For volunteerism with the Middlebury United Methodist Church, the Middlebury College Alternative Breaks Program, the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Organization, the American Cancer Society "Relay for Life," the Vermont Girl Scouts, and other service initiatives on campus, Ashley M. Pullen, Class of 2005.

For leadership and initiative regarding campus involvement, John C. Schirm, Class of 2005.

For service with the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association, Darshan Shrestha, Class of 2004.

For service outreach in Bolivia, and for volunteerism with Addison County Community Friends, Lauren A. Smith, Class of 2007.

For work with the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Organization and Middlebury's Student Government Association, Courtney A. Taylor, Class of 2004.

For service with the Middlebury Fire Department and the Addison County Community Friends Program, S. Welker Taylor,  Class of 2006.

For service to the Middlebury College Activities Board, Leslie A. Wade, Class of 2005.

For volunteerism with the American Cancer Society "Relay for Life," Megan A. Young, Class of 2007.

For service to our student newspaper, The Middlebury Campus, Devin B. Zatorski, Class of 2004.

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