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The 2007 Citizens' medalists, shown here with Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz, are (from left) Fletcher Brush, Lucien Paquette, Liebowitz, Dr. Michael Steier and Christine Steier.Photograph by Trent Campbell.

Middlebury College honors local citizens for community service Jan. 9

January 11, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz presented Middlebury College Citizens' Medals to four residents of Addison County at a ceremony and dinner at the college on Tuesday, Jan. 9. The medal recipients, who were recognized for their contributions to the community, are Fletcher "Buster" Brush, Lucien Paquette, and Christine and Michael Steier.

A custom initiated by the college in its bicentennial year, the medals are given to residents of Addison County whose service to the community has been sustained and distinguished. Members of the college community submitted nominations for the 2006 Citizens' Medals, and Liebowitz and a committee of faculty and staff selected the winners.

"Since November 2000 when Middlebury College first presented the honorary medals, more than 30 residents of Middlebury and surrounding towns have received this tribute for their selfless contributions," 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."

Fletcher Brush
Co-operative Insurance Companies Customer Relations Manager Fletcher Brush is involved with numerous local and state community service organizations, including the Youth Safety Council of Vermont, the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, the Middlebury Rotary Club, the Salisbury Historical Society and Village Cemetery Restoration Project, the Middlebury Community House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He was instrumental in planning and fundraising for the construction of the Memorial Sports Center in Middlebury, which is a privately funded, community recreational facility. He has been an assistant coach for the Middlebury Union High School varsity hockey team for several years, and is a board member of the Middlebury Junior Golf Association. With the assistance of his nephew, Ryan Fowler, he created a Web site called, which assists Vermont genealogy researchers  and raises money for the Vermont Old Cemetery Association.

Born and raised in Middlebury, Brush is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including three Rotary awards, the Herb Painter Award from the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the Addison County Chamber of Commerce President's Award.

Lucien Paquette shares a moment
with daughter Janet.
Lucien Paquette, who was also born and raised in Vermont, served as the University of Vermont agricultural extension agent for Addison County for nearly 40 years, and for more than 30 years he provided his expertise on daily, early-morning radio shows, initially on WIPS in Ticonderoga, and later on WFAD in Middlebury when the station first went on air in 1965.  He has been active with St. Mary's Catholic Church in many community efforts, including as a charter member and the first chair of the Parish Council, and as a fundraiser for the reopening of St. Mary's School in 1999. He is currently the coordinator of St. Mary's Bishop's Phone Tree, a member of the Father Daley Council of the Knights of Columbus and treasurer of the council's Patriotic 4th Degree Assembly.

Paquette is the founder of the Addison County Fair & Field Days, which began in 1948 on a farm on East Munger Street in Middlebury. Field Days has been Paquette's passion, and under his leadership during the past 58 years the annual exposition has grown to be the largest agricultural fair in the state of Vermont. Paquette, who is 90 years old, wielded his scythe in this year's hand-mowing competition, an event he initiated at Field Days in 1978.

Dr. Michael and Christine Steier are both volunteers at the Open Door Clinic, a medical facility that provides care to Addison County residents who are not insured and have difficulty meeting medical costs. Christine Steier, who has volunteered as a nurse for the clinic as well as for the Community Health Services of Addison County (CHS) since moving in 2003 to Vermont from Florida
Christine Steier
with her husband Michael, has served as Open Door's director since 2005. Michael Steier has volunteered with the Open Door Clinic as a physician for the past three years, and in 2005 became its medical director. He is also medical director and a board member of CHS. Each of the Steiers received the Governor's Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2005.

Prior to moving to Vermont, Christine Steier filled various medical positions: as hospice care and clinical evaluator for the Florida State Board of Nursing, as a pharmaceutical research project manager, and for 16 years as an emergency room nurse.

Dr. Michael Steier
A captain in the United States Army Reserves, Michael Steier is a retired cardiac and thoracic surgeon who served for 23 years with the Southwest Regional Medical Center in Ft. Myers, Fla.

While in Florida, the Steiers, who are both members of the National Healthcare for the Homeless Coalition, volunteered for the Salvation Army's 200-bed homeless shelter in Ft. Myers. In 2000, Michael Steier was named the Salvation Army Volunteer of the Year. The couple has volunteered on numerous medical missions in the U.S., Africa and Russia. Christine Steier worked additionally in Mexico and Michael Steier in Nepal and India.