DeGray and Rouse to join Middlebury hall of fame

MIDDLEBURY — Every autumn the Middlebury High School/Middlebury Union High School Alumni Association honors graduates by inducting them into its Hall of Fame.
Joe DeGray and John Rouse will be introduced as this year’s Hall of Fame selections during halftime of the Middlebury Union High School football game against Colchester High School this Friday, Sept. 23.
Inductees into the Hall of Fame must meet certain criteria and have been nominated through a letter of recommendation from their peers. This year the Alumni Association is honoring Joe DeGray of the class of 1952 and John Rouse of the class of 1982.
The new Hall of Fame members will be given plaques and formally inducted into the hall at the MHS/MUHS alumni dinner at the VFW Hall on Exchange Street in Middlebury on Saturday, Sept. 24. Doors open at 4 p.m., the Alumni Association Meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the banquet kicking off at 6 and the Hall of Fame presentation at 7.
Joe DeGray is a barber, a veteran and an exemplar of service to the community since moving to Bridport 45 years ago.
A member of the Middlebury High School class of 1952, DeGray served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, 1953-1955. He joined the American Legion and has been a member for 60 years — 21 years as commander, four as chairman of the Addison County Legion and 30 on the Legion Color Guard.
He served his town in many capacities. DeGray joined the Bridport Fire Department in 1957 and is still an active member.
In Bridport he also served on the School Board (9 years), Planning Commission (9 years), and Zoning Board (10 years as Chairman). In the world of sports he coached Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball for a decade and was president of the Vermont State Bowling Association — twice! In Middlebury, he was a charter member of the Middlebury Memorial Sports Center, some as Chairman.
“Joe’s Barbershop” in Middlebury has been, for nearly half a century, a center of community life in town.
Not surprisingly, DeGray was a recipient of the Middlebury College Citizens Award during the first year it was bestowed.
John Rouse is well known not just for the successful business he runs but also for the many, many ways in which he participates in the life of the community.
A 1982 graduate of Middlebury Union High School, Rouse played football for four years and also played basketball and golf. He was president of his senior class and is now president of the Friends of Football and a sideline coach. He is also instrumental in the painting of the football field for the home games and transports the team gear to away games.
John began working in the tire business during his senior year of high school working for Reilly Tire learning various aspects of the tire business. In 1988, John and his parents opened Rouse Tire Sales Inc. in Middlebury and in 2001, John and his wife Carolyn (MUHS Class of 1981) purchased the business from John’s parents. They have grown the company from 4 employees and one location serving Addison County, to 25 employees in two locations serving all of Vermont and parts of New Hampshire and New York.
But his life is about a lot more than his work. Rouse served as a Selectman and Road Commissioner for the town of Salisbury and is currently overseeing the construction of the new Maple Street bridge in Salisbury.
He is a member of the Rotary Club, Squadron 27 Middlebury Sons of the American Legion, and the Addison County and Brandon Chambers of Commerce. He gives most generously to several organizations both local and state wide as well as numerous school programs and clubs. He recently received the American Legion Community Service Award.

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