Business organization honors trio of community builders

NEW HAVEN — The Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP) this past Thursday honored its 2014 Citizen and Business of the Year at its annual meeting at Lincoln Peak Vineyard in New Haven. Close to 50 people attended the event, which serves as part board meeting and part celebration of achievements in the community.
Town Hall Theater was named BMP’s Business of the Year for 2014 because of its significant role in Middlebury’s cultural scene. BMP Board President Ben Wilson noted the theater’s strong ties in the community, calling it an incubator for local talent with its nine resident companies.
“Middlebury has an arts scene that many small cities would envy, and the Town Hall Theater is a big part of Middlebury’s cultural offerings” Wilson said.
He went on to describe the theater as a product of the community, and highlighted the continuing obligation to support the theater’s efforts moving forward. THT Executive Director Douglas Anderson accepted the award for the theater.
The BMP recognized Eliza Eaton as its 2014 Citizen of the Year, in large part due to her efforts in founding and maintaining the website Minibury.com, which helps connect young families in and around Middlebury with kid-friendly events and activities. Eaton’s website, founded about four years ago, has continued to grow in popularity in the past year, serving as an events calendar and overview of all of the various activities the Middlebury area offers to families.
“Minibury is a valuable tool not only for our local community, but also for those families who are looking to relocate to Middlebury,” Wilson said in recognizing Eaton for her achievements. “Minibury not only provides them with information that they need, but it also signals that the Middlebury community is one that is connected and dynamic.”
Wilson also noted Eaton’s work on behalf of the Middlebury Community House and Porter Medical Center.
“Both the Town Hall Theater and Eliza Eaton exemplify the Better Middlebury Partnership’s mission to make Middlebury a better place to live, work and play,” Wilson said. “We are proud of the work that they are doing and look forward to continuing to partner with them and organizations and individuals like them in the coming year.”
The BMP also drew attention to and bestowed thanks on a long-standing member of the community for all of his work to make the Middlebury area a better place to live.
The organization recognized Ken Perine for his decades of service to the Middlebury community. Wilson specifically noted that Perine has played an important role within the BMP as both a leader and a mentor to younger board members. This year, Perine will wrap up a 23-year tenure as president of the National Bank of Middlebury. In addition to his job, Perine has participated on various town and nonprofit boards too numerous to mention. A small sampling: The Addison County Economic Development Corp., the United Way of Addison County, Hospice Volunteer Services, the Town Hall Theater, Housing Vermont and Porter Hospital. In many of these cases, he has served as treasurer or as a financial expert.

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