Gen. Brian Carpenter to speak at city's Memorial Day parade
VERGENNES — Vergennes American Legion Post 14 announceS that Addison County businessman and Vermont National Guard Brigadier Gen. Brian Carpenter will be the guest speaker at the ceremony following the annual Memorial Day parade, scheduled for Monday, May 27. The parade, reputed to be the biggest Memorial Day celebration in Vermont, will step off from Vergennes Union High School at 11 a.m. that morning and will conclude with a ceremony in Vergennes City Park at which Carpenter will speak. The parade theme is “Honor and Remember.”
Carpenter is a Middlebury native and a 1980 graduate of Middlebury Union High School where he played football, raced cross-country skiing, and ran track. He attended St. Lawrence University on an Army ROTC scholarship, where he played on the football and lacrosse teams and graduated with a degree in economics. Commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, he entered on active duty in the Army where he served for nine years, primarily in Germany, Panama and California. Many of his assignments were related to Rapid Deployment Force preparation and training. Asked which of his active duty assignments was the best, he unhesitatingly says “all of them.” He noted that, contrary to the old military rule (“never volunteer”) he volunteered for everything he could and doing so led to some of his most memorable and satisfying experiences.
He left active duty in January 1993 and returned to Middlebury where he became general manager of Champlain Valley Equipment, a business started by his father in 1970. At that time he also affiliated with the Vermont Army National Guard. He subsequently assumed the role as president of the business, which now has 85 employees and four locations in Vermont.
In his National Guard career, Carpenter has served in a variety of increasingly responsible positions, culminating in his promotion to brigadier general in May 2011. He currently serves as assistant adjutant general — Army. Since his promotion to general, he has annually averaged over 80 days of service related to Guard business. Asked how he balances his Guard career with the demanding job of running a business, he offers that careful time management and reliance on outstanding and trusted employees are key (as is a very supportive family.) Leadership skills developed as an Army officer are very much relevant to his business career as he cites small group leadership and the willingness to delegate as two Army competencies which have served him well in business. As a junior lieutenant, he was thrust into a command position early in his career and attributes experiences such as that as being key to his success in business leadership.
As if his days are not busy enough, Carpenter is also involved in a number of professional and community efforts. He sits on the board of the Northeast Dealers Association, the North American Equipment Dealers Association, the local Middlebury Public Works Committee and the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association. He also coaches grade 7/8 club football and lacrosse. His son, Spencer,is a Middlebury Union Middle School eighth-grader who participates in both sports. He and his wife, Nanette, who will receive her master of science as a family nurse practitioner from the University of Vermont this spring, also have a daughter, Olivia, a junior at Middlebury Union High School who plays lacrosse too.
Carpenter has been awarded the Meritorious Service Award (with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters in lieu of additional awards), the Army Commendation Medal (with one Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army Achievement Medal (with one Oak Leaf Cluster) and the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (with five Oak Leaf Clusters) in addition to a host of unit and campaign awards. He also wears the Parachutist and Air Assault Badges.
Asked to characterize his Army National Guard career, he says that it has been an honor to serve in the Guard, particularly in the Vermont Guard, where both the Army and Air components have such a strong reputation for excellence and their service since 9/11.
Organizations or individuals wishing to participate in the parade are reminded to notify the parade chairman, Legion Post 14 Commander Dennis Steady, by phone at 877-3216, by email at [email protected] or by sending a post card to Chairman, Memorial Day Parade, Post 14, 100 Armory Lane, Vergennes, VT 05491. Those using email are asked to put “Memorial Day Parade” in the subject line.