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Teena Betourney (left), an EMT and director of Middlebury Regional Emergency and Medical Services presents plaques of appreciation to Margaret Weber ’18 and Marie Vasitas ’18.

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Student and Community First Responders Celebrate Achievements

May 9, 2018

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Students and community members gathered at Atwater Dining Hall last week to celebrate a year of student first-responder service to the community. Sponsored by the student organization Middlebury First Responders, the event drew rescue and fire responders from across campus and Addison County.

“I want to extend my gratitude, appreciation, and admiration to all of the Middlebury First Responders who have gathered here this evening,” said President Laurie Patton in her welcoming remarks. “Your selflessness and spirit of service bring help and healing far beyond the confines of this campus and this town. Thank you for your time, your energy, your willingness to support, to learn, to volunteer, to mentor, and to train.”

Among several honors bestowed over the course of the evening was the Ed Sullivan Award, named for the College’s former environmental health and safety coordinator who died in 2016. This year’s winners, who embody “Ed’s commitment to bring the College and town together through first response,” were Margaret Weber, copresident of Middlebury First Responders, and Liz Orr, an advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT) with Middlebury Regional Emergency and Medical Services (MREMS).

Current and future members of the Middlebury First Responders Board. Back row, from left: Dylan Montigue ’20, Zack Sieb ’21, Margo Reigle ’19, David Cohen ’20, Peter Palumbo ’21; Front, from left: Zoe Keskey ’18, Marie Vasitas ’18, Margaret Weber ’18, Giulia Napoli ’20.

The Sullivan Award held special meaning for Weber, a Middlebury senior. “Ed was my teacher and mentor and is the vision behind the work we are doing today,” she said.

MREMS director and EMT Teena Betourney recognized several first responders from the town and College with awards, including years of service and for a lifetime achievement award to AEMT Dave Fuller for his 18 years of service. Betourney also presented “most valuable student” awards to Alex Browne ’18 and David Cohen ’20 for their work on heavy rescue. Marie Vasitas ’18, Margo Reigle ’19, and Weber received plaques of appreciation and Read Allen ’18 and Peter Palumbo ’20 were recognized for their leadership in a J-term first responder course. MREMS also recognized all Middlebury College seniors for their contributions.

Although Middlebury students have long participated in first-responder activities with local agencies, Middlebury First Responders, as a student organization, started in 2017 to build an on-campus community of student EMTs and firefighters, advocate for mental health of responders, and provide trainings and programming to maintain certifications. In its first year, the group has grown to 163 members.

“We are very excited by this growth and the increased student leadership we have seen. Our collaborative efforts with our community partners continue to strengthen, and we look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership between the College and the town,” said Weber.

By Stephen Diehl; Photos by Zarai Zaragoza ’18

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