Chamber honors Cunningham, Homeward Bound, Addison Press with awards

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized a local business, a non-profit organization, and an individual with awards during its annual meeting last Thursday at Middlebury College’s Kirk Alumni Center.
Three awards were presented in front of a crowd of 60-plus, which included Chamber members and local business people.
Addison Press, publisher of this newspaper, was presented with the 2016 Business of the Year Award, which recognizes businesses that have grown, sometimes despite adversity, while providing excellent products or services while doing well by their employees and the community.
In a time of declining circulation, layoffs, corporate takeovers and closures, the family-owned Addison Press has continued to invest in the community by maintaining staff, updating technology and sharpening focus to deliver the highest levels of coverage and service of any media outlet in Addison County.
A team of talented reporters and photographers cover the nuts and bolts of government, high school sports, local business, community events and more. They sponsor countless events and causes with in-kind advertising donations and news stories. In 2016 they launched a weekly Arts + Leisure section to further promote local music, theater and film events.
In recent years the Lynn family purchased Vermont Sports Magazine and founded Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine to highlight outdoor recreational opportunities in the entire state of Vermont, not just Addison County, and help boost the state’s ski industry. Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine is now the largest ski publication east of the Mississippi. Addison Press also rescued the Addison County phone book (and five others) and its company from financial straits more than 15 years ago and kept it alive and thriving, serving area businesses with affordable, targeted local advertising throughout Addison County and much of southern Vermont.
In addition to the Business of the Year award, the Addison County Chamber presented its 2016 Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award to Bill Cunningham, regional director at Addison County Transit Resources, known as ACTR. Cunningham 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.
Addison County and the state of Vermont are better places thanks to Bill Cunningham’s many civic contributions. A retired Vermont Air National Guard leader, he is the president of the Vermont National Guard Enlisted Association, where he chairs the Military Ball, helps members access the NGAUS Insurance Trust and raises funds for scholarships. He also organizes the state’s Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Cunningham serves as PR director for the MUHS/MHS Alumni Association. Recent projects include a historical installation at the high school incorporating salvaged materials from the former high school building. He is also working with Middlebury College to commemorate the old high school with a plaque in the new park.
Cunningham gives time to Special Olympics, raising funds and coaching winter sports. He also lends his organizational talents to the Festival on-the-Green. As a new member of both the Middlebury Rotary Club and the Lions Club of Middlebury, he has installed flags on Washington Street, flipped pancakes at the Middlebury Maple Run, helped organize the Lions’ auction and sold concessions at Addison County Fair and Field Days.
In addition Cunningham works full-time as ACTR’s regional director and is pursuing a master’s degree from Norwich University in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management.
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 Homeward Bound: Addison County’s Humane Society and was accepted by Jessica Danyow, the organization’s executive director.
Founded in 1975, Homeward Bound is a full-service, open-admission animal shelter. The shelter is open five days a week for visitors and adoptions. To date in 2016, it has provided 767 animals with sheltering and rehoming services — already surpassing the total number of animals served in 2015.  Homeward Bound recognizes the link between animal and human welfare and so, in addition to caring for needy animals, Homeward Bound provides multiple programs and services designed to support pet-owners and people in Addison County.
These are just some of the things Homeward Bound does for our community
It helps provide a nurturing environment for children through a family-friendly volunteer program and a humane education summer camp.
It provides a stray animal holding facility for 21 Addison County towns.
It has volunteers who support law enforcement in their efforts to enforce the state’s animal welfare laws for both family pets and livestock.
It offers free spay/neuter and rabies vaccines for stray and feral cats.
It partners with area human social service agencies to support low-income and senior pet owners through food and  short-term  pet care for people experiencing health or housing trauma.
It offers affordable adoption of animals that are vaccinated and sterilized.
It offers free adoption of senior pets to seniors to encourage a healthy life-style.
It guarantees all pets adopted from Homeward Bound are microchipped.
It hosts bi-monthly low-cost microchipping clinics open to the public to promote speedy recovery of lost pets.
It offers on-site pet cremation services for individuals and veterinary offices, providing the only local resource and compassionate assistance for people facing this difficult decision.
Chamber of Commerce annual meeting attendees voted on the board of directors for 2016-2017. New to the board this year, serving one-year terms expiring at the 2017 annual meeting are Bethany Dever of Dever Accounting Services and Adam Rainville of Maple Landmark Woodcraft.  Other board members include:
•  Amy Barr, representing Vergennes Partnership
•  Geoff Conrad, Middlebury Inn*
•  Don Devost, Addison Advisors*
•  David Donahue, Middlebury College, Incoming Board Chair*
•  Judson Hescock, Neuse, Duprey & Putnam, P.C. *
•  Hannah Manley, Homeward Bound: Addison County’s Humane Society*
•  Shawn Oxford, Bristol Financial Services, Outgoing Board Chairperson*
•  Liza Sacheli, Middlebury College Mahaney Center for the Arts
•  Bill Sayre, A. Johnson Lumber Company, representing Addison County Regional Planning Commission
•  Len Schmidt, Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center
•  Grover Usilton, National Bank of Middlebury
•  Wendy Hirdler, KEY Speakers Bureau, representing Better Middlebury Partnership
* Designates Chamber Officers

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