Brush scholarship fund completes its mission
MIDDLEBURY — After handing out more than $80,000 in scholarship money to 21 Vermont and New Hampshire high school students in the past decade, the trustees of the Fletcher “Buster” Brush Memorial Scholarship Fund recently announced that the fund has completed its mission and is winding down.
The fund was established in 2009 in memory of Buster Brush, a much-loved member of the Middlebury community who died unexpectedly the previous year at the age of 59.
Brush was a lifelong resident of the Middlebury area who had a passion for helping others, which he exercised through his work with the Rotary Club and Make a Wish Foundation, and through many years of coaching youth hockey.
When the fund was established in 2009, the trustees decided to raise funds in a single appeal and pay out awards over a limited number of years.
Then, from 2010 to 2019, the trustees selected two high school students, one from Vermont and one from New Hampshire, to receive $1,000 tuition assistance per year for four years.
Winners came from all over both states. Local beneficiaries included Hannah Curler from Vergennes Union High School in 2012, Andi Boe from Middlebury Union in 2018, and Anabel Hernandez from MUHS in 2019.
Trustee and fund treasurer Dave Tatlock explained the rationale for how the fund was set up and operated.
“We didn’t feel like the fund needed to go on forever,” Tatlock said. “We wanted to be able to provide some bigger gifts while Buster’s friends and family are around to appreciate what we were doing.”
Trustee Matt Brush, Buster’s nephew, reflected on the work of the fund and its trustees: “Buster would have loved this journey we have had. He loved honoring others and giving to the youth of the community. He’d have hated the attention, but he would have loved the journey and mission, and he would really have been proud to be associated with these kids.”
The six trustees, Ken Perine, Randy Odell, Tim Robinson, Jim Needham, Matt Brush and Tatlock, gathered each May at Buster’s mountain retreat in Ripton to review applications over pizza and virgin Cape Codders (Buster’s signature drink), and to reminisce about Buster.
“Buster loved kids,” Perine said. “He saw the incredible potential in each of them just waiting to be unleashed. While he was with us, he enjoyed working with young people to help unlock that potential. The Fletcher ‘Buster’ Brush scholarship provided us a way to continue his work with young people to help them realize their dreams.”
There was one year when the trustees had the Vermont applicants narrowed down to two finalists and just could not decide who to eliminate. They finally decided to grant two awards after Matt asked his fellow trustees, “What would Buster do?”
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