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Middlebury College honors four local citizens for community service Jan. 11

January 12, 2006

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz presented Middlebury College Citizens' Medals honoring four residents of Addison County at a ceremony and dinner at the college on Wednesday, Jan. 11. The medal recipients, recognized for their contributions to the community, were Al Stiles, Cynthia and Roth "T" Tall, and the Rev. Paul B. Bortz.

President Ron Liebowitz and the 2005 Citizens' Medal award winners, from left: "T" Tall, Cy Tall,
Al Stiles and Paul Bortz

The annual award, which
was first granted during the college's bicentennial year in 2000, recognizes local residents who have helped strengthen the Addison County community in a variety of ways. "Over the past five years, Middlebury College has presented medals to 30 residents of Middlebury and surrounding towns for their selfless contributions to the community," said John Emerson, secretary of the college. "Their service has spanned a variety of fields including the arts, business, education, government, medicine, philanthropy and social services."
Members of the college community submitted nominations for the 2005 Citizens' Medals, and President Liebowitz and a committee of faculty and staff members selected the winners.
 Award-winner Al Stiles has been a Middlebury resident since 1976 and has held offices and served on the boards of more than a dozen local organizations. "Whenever there is work to be done, Al is there," said Middlebury College President Emeritus and College Professor John McCardell, who has often volunteered alongside Stiles.
Stiles' dedicated efforts include trail design and maintenance for the Green Mountain Club, Catamount Trail Association, United States Forest Service and Middlebury Area Land Trust, where he also served as a board member. He started the Middlebury Tree Nursery behind the new police station in Middlebury, where he transplants and tends to trees until they are mature enough to be planted in local parks and along town streets. He helped build several Habitat for Humanity homes in the area and filled multiple volunteer roles for the local Red Cross and United Way chapters. He has volunteered at Porter Hospital and for the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Service, and has served on the board of Shard Villa, a residential care home in Salisbury. He has been a reading mentor and math and science assistant in local junior high schools, and has served the town of Middlebury in several elected positions.

Cynthia, better known as Cy, and "T" Tall, longtime Cornwall residents, were recognized for their ongoing commitment to philanthropic work in many community organizations. A 1965 Middlebury College graduate, "T" has served as both a board member and volunteer with the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Service, and as an active member and team leader of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders whose stated mission is to provide humanitarian service and build goodwill and peace in the world. He has been a board member of the Addison County Home Health and Hospice, and board president for the local Vermont Green Up chapter.

Cy, a lifelong resident of Addison County, serves on the boards of the Henry Sheldon Museum and the United Way. She has also served the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Service and has been a mentor and reader with the Everybody Wins! Vermont program in local schools. Both "T" and Cy were past co-chairs of the United Way board, and are current co-presidents of the Cornwall Historical Society. They have each served the town of Cornwall in several elected positions, "T" as a select board member and chair of the planning commission and Cy as town moderator and planning commission secretary.

"Over the last decade, Rev. Paul Bortz has been a visible and highly respected leader in Addison County, pursuing realistic, spiritually-based solutions to our greatest environmental problems," said Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Economics Jon Isham, who has worked with Bortz in the community.
According to Isham, Bortz founded three local environmental groups that reach beyond the traditional goals of improving the environment to find deeper and more spiritual solutions that will be both effective and inspiring. As the founder of Spirit in Nature, a set of interweaving trails in Ripton's Green Mountain wilderness, Bortz helped create a natural place of solace and quiet revelation for the public to enjoy. Collaborating with local citizens, Bortz established the Middlebury Global Warming Action Coalition to affect a measurable change in the way Addison County residents consume and produce energy. Bortz has also helped develop the Vermont Interfaith Power and Light project to create a statewide forum for addressing Vermont's global warming issues.

"Throughout his work in the community, Bortz has maintained a collaborative relationship with the students, faculty and staff of Middlebury College through service-learning projects, lectures and conversation," added Isham. "His natural leadership has helped many in our greater community gain awareness of today's pressing environmental issues." Bortz was previously a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rutland and the executive director of the Burlington Housing Authority. He currently serves on the board of Addison County Regional Transportation.