ENOSBURG FALLS — Lise Gates, owner of The Dairy Center on Route 105 in Enosburg Falls, not only took over managing the family business from her parents Ralph and Cecile Demers, but their propensity to be stewards of the community as well.

Gates’ impact on the local community was recognized at the national level this spring, when she received the Mother of Achievement award from American Mothers, Inc.

“She’s always helping somebody,” said Tim Stetson, a member of Enosburg Falls Lion’s Club, which nominated Gates for the award. “If somebody’s kind of down on their luck or had something occur in their life, oftentimes people will choose the Dairy Center as the place to do a benefit … and Lise is always right there to kind of jump in and help in any way she can.”

Gates is a mother to three biological children and has been an active participant in raising her significant other’s children as well, according to Stetson. She is also a mother to the community, he said.

“There have been many young folks over the years who have been down on their luck, have had a tough family life, whatever it may be,” he said, “and Lise has welcomed them into her home.”

“So when you put that all together, she’s been a mother to a ton of folks,” said Stetson.

One of four mothers across the U.S. to receive this award, Gates traveled down to Washington D.C. for the ceremony in April.

Months later, Gates sat across the table from me inside the Dairy Center’s bowling center Thursday and recounted why the award was unexpected, and the ceremony a little uncomfortable.

Gates said everything she does to help local families is not for the recognition. “I like to be really careful, [and keep things private], because I don’t want to make somebody feel bad… because they were down and out one time and I had to help them,” she explained.

“I don’t want other people to know,” she said. “But somehow, some people found out and that’s how I got that award.”

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