Chamber honors Ralston, Two Brothers Tavern, Middlebury Rotary for their leadership

NEW HAVEN — With cooling temperatures and a fire-red sunset outside of Tourterelle Restaurant and Inn’s tented pavilion, the Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized Two Brothers Tavern, Paul Ralston and the Middlebury Rotary Club with its top awards at the organization’s annual meeting last Wednesday evening.
Middlebury’s Two Brothers Tavern received the 2015 Business of the Year Award, which recognizes businesses that have grown, while providing excellent products or service and doing well by their employees and the community.
Two Brothers Tavern is a family-run business that opened in Middlebury in 2002, and is “strongly supportive of the community,” said award presented Brian Carpenter, last year’s award winner. Carpenter noted the restaurant holds special dining nights that benefit local organizations and also hosts special fundraising events, such as the annual Face Off Against Breast Cancer party, Cocktails Curing Cancer, the Adam Myers Memorial Fundraiser, and Porter Hospital Auxiliary’s Beat Back the Blues, among others. They lead the charge by organizing and participating in community events such as the Vermont Chili Festival, and their weekly trivia and open mic nights and live music make Two Brothers a true community meeting place.
The Chamber’s 2015 Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award went to Paul Ralston, owner of Vermont Coffee Company. Ralson, presented Nancy Malcolm told the crowd of about 80 business leaders, exemplifies the criteria for which the award is given — “a history of getting things done to make the community better in a variety of ways, with no intention of personal reward or recognition.”
Ralston has both started businesses and helped other businesses reach new levels. Hailed as an entrepreneur with an open mind, he is not only the owner of Vermont Coffee Company, and is the former state representative for Middlebury. He is currently working on the Middlebury EDI development committee, is pressing the Vermont Agency of Transportation for a roundabout at Exchange Street/Route 7 intersection and has pressed the need locally for a sidewalk and bike path along Exchange Street.
Ralston has been an active board member for the Addison County Economic Development Corporation and the Vermont Retailers Association.
In the words of his employees, Malcolm said, “Paul Ralston is someone who is passionate about his community and cares about his neighbors’ happiness and their success. He cares and demonstrates it daily. He walks the talk and is the voice for those who need one.”
The Chamber’s Community Achievement Award is given to a non-profit organization that provides a significant and sustained contribution to the wellbeing of the area. This year’s award was presented to the Rotary Club of Middlebury and accepted by Geoff Conrad, club president and manager of the Middlebury Inn, and Eric Denu, Rotary District Governor-Elect and owner of Countryside Carpet & Paint. The Middlebury Rotary Club is one of 32,000 clubs throughout the world with more than 1.3 million members.
Locally, the Rotary has worked to support youth sports programs, sponsored student exchanges, and backed an annual speech contest. They have also contributed to numerous causes and organizations, such as: Addison County Transit Resources, Town Hall Theater, the Regional Ambulance Building, Memorial Sports Center, Homeward Bound and Elderly Services. Its members and the organization regularly give to local non-profits, such as HOPE, Charter House Coalition, Open Door Clinic, the Henry Sheldon Museum and Meals on Wheels.
The most visible service project that the Middlebury Rotary Club does is its Flag Project. The flags you see in town on our patriotic holidays are from the efforts of Rotarians and are sponsored by individuals and community businesses.
At the chamber’s annual business meeting the board and members of the Chamber recognized Bonita Bedard of Vermont HoneyLights in Bristol, Martin Clark of Martin’s Hardware in Bristol and Middlebury, Sam Cutting IV of Dakin Farm in Ferrisburgh, and Steve Misasi of Misasi & Company, who are leaving the chamber board after serving their terms.
Those attending Wednesday’s meeting also voted on the board of directors for the 2015-2016 year.
New to the board this year, serving a one-year term expiring at the 2016 annual meeting is Judson Hescock of Neuse, Duprey & Putnam, PC.
Other board members include: Geoff Conrad, Middlebury Inn; Don Devost, Addison Advisors; David Donahue, Middlebury College; Larry Goetschius, Addison County Home Health & Hospice; Hannah Manley, Homeward Bound; Michael Norris, Poulos Insurance; Shawn Oxford, Bristol Financial Services; Liza Sacheli, Middlebury College Mahaney Center for the Arts; Bill Sayre, representing Addison County Regional Planning Commission; Grover Usilton, National Bank of Middlebury; Wendy Hirdler, Key Speakers Bureau, representing Better Middlebury Partnership; and Rebecca Woods, Porter Medical Center.

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