ST. ALBANS — Bellows Free Academy Athletic Director Dan Marlow, Dairy Center owner Lise Gates and A.N. Deringer were recognized for their community service by the Franklin County Industrial Development Corp. (FCIDC) Thursday night.
Gates was given the William Cioffi Community Service Award, Marlow the Rick Manahan Award while A.N. Deringer was named business of the year.
Kathy Lavoie of the Workforce Investment Board presented Marlow’s award, beginning her remarks by stating Dan was “born in St. Albans in a year his wife refuses to reveal.”
Marlow’s parents owned a grocery store in town. He went on to earn two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, serving as a physical education teacher, coach and ultimately athletic director. He’s been at BFA since 1987, having worked in St. Albans City School and Missisquoi Valley Union before that.
“Hundreds of students have benefitted from his guidance and instruction,” said Lavoie.
He has been named Vermont’s Athletic Director of the Year three times.
His wife, Linda, was also a teacher. All three of their sons became teachers and married teachers.
Lavoie quoted another community member who observed “if we measure one’s life by the number of lives one has touched, then Dan Marlow has lived a very rich life.”
Like Rick Manahan, Marlow has a couple of sayings he’s know for, said Lavoie. The first is “Be who you say you are,” and the second, “That’s what separates you from everyone else.”
The full house at the Bliss Memorial Auditorium rose to its feet as Marlow came forward to accept the award.
He asked Rick Manahan’s family to join him, hugging each one, before beginning his remarks.
Rick Manahan, the late head of Peoples Trust Company, had been a student in the first class he taught at city school, said Marlow. “I loved Rick Manahan just like everybody else in this room.”
“There are many people in this room who know how special you are,” said Marlow. “At some point I told you that.”
His willingness to tell others of his fondness for them came from his own father, who often said he didn’t want to be praised after his death. His father used to say “take time and tell people how you feel,” said Marlow.
Shifting to a lighter tone, Marlow said, “I’m sure there are alot of you sitting there thinking that Linda Marlow is so lucky.”
His wife ran their home while Marlow was coaching. She’d often work at the games, collecting ticket money at the door. “That’s how we got to spend time together,” Marlow said.
Marlow also spoke of his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, before turning to the topic of friends, a subject he used to tease the evening’s host FCIDC Executive Director and St. Albans City Mayor Tim Smith.
“I knew Tim Smith long before he was mayor of St. Albans,” said Marlow, back when Smith was a child who saved every nickel and dime in jars under his bed.
“It’s called hoarding now,” put in Smith.
“Without family and friends and faith, you don’t have anything,” said Marlow.
He also advised the audience to take care of themselves, citing advice he himself had received from Dr. Carmola.
“I really haven’t worked a day in my life,” said Marlow, because his work days were spent surrounded by the “best people.”
Concluding his remarks, Marlow advised the audience to “Let the people most important to you know how you feel. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.”
Unfortunately Lise Gates couldn’t attend last night, because she was in New Jersey assisting one of her children with moving.
Accepting on her behalf was her daughter, Lisha Rasco. Rasco said that earlier this year when Smith was running for mayor, she had to explain what a mayor was to her own young daughter. When she finished her daughter said, “You mean Tim is going to be in St. Albans what grandma is in Eno
FCIDC board member Becky Stebbins presented the Cioffi Award to Gates, beginning with a list of Gates’ work for the community. It was, necessarily, a long list.
Stebbins began by saying Gates was the first female member of the Enosburg Falls Lions Club. As a Lions Club member she was the MC for the Dairy Days parade for 30 years and organized the scholarship pageant for 28 years.
When her son Luc Gates died, Lise founded a charity in his honor. Since 1986 the Luc Gates Foundation has given out nearly $500,000 in scholarships while also supporting every Little League team in the county with an annual $250 donation, along with other charitable work.
For 30 years, the Dairy Center prepared and delivered Meals on Wheels and from November to March each year Gates hosts a soup night at the center every Tuesday during which a donation to the food shelf will get you a dinner of soup, bread and dessert.
If that wasn’t enough, Gates was also a volunteer ambulance driver.
At the Dairy Center, Gates employees four full-time and staff and 30-40 part-time workers depending on the time of year.
“Lise has initiated many a teenager into the workforce,” said Stebbins.
Lee Stetson, a fellow Lions Club member, has said of Gates, “She’s always helping somebody with something.”
Gates did send remarks, which Stebbins read.
Gates said she had been born into a family “that had the community at its heart.”
“You get involved because it’s the right thing to do,” she continued. “You don’t to it for reward.”
The FCIDC business of the year is chosen in recognition of its community involvement, job development and job retention, said Smith.
Deringer was founded in St. Albans in 1919. Its role is to assist other companies with exporting goods, known as customs brokerage. They also provide warehousing and inspection services.
The company currently has 30 offices and distribution centers. Deringer has 500 employees nationwide, of which 100 are in Vermont and 85 in St. Albans.
Locally, the company has hired “many talented but green individuals,” said Smith.
Smith also listed the company’s contributions to the community including donations to: the Northwestern Medical Center expansion, the purchase of land for the Hard’ack recreation area, the Taylor Park Fountain restoration, renovations at Samaritan House and the St. Albans Free Library, donation of a warehouse to Habitat for Humanity, and contributions to the Highgate Arena.
The company’s CEO Jake Holzscheiter “like his father and grandfather, understands what it is to give back to your community,” said Smith.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” said Holzscheiter, “but the honor really is for the employees.”
Holzscheiter also said one of the highlights of his childhood was taking part in the seventh and eighth grade gym show at St. Albans City School, which Marlow organized.
As Smith reclaimed the mike, he said the big event in gym night was when participants leaped over bodies lying on a mat and then went into a forward roll.
Holzscheiter commented that the record was 22 bodies, only for Smith to reply “they were first graders” and therefore not very big.
Smith began the night by talking about the work of FCIDC, the expansion of local businesses and the addition of jobs in the county.
He also noted that almost every community in the county has “taken initiative,” citing communities from Georgia to Richford.
In the past three weeks, FCIDC has heard from three businesses interested in coming to Franklin County. While those conversations are still very preliminary, he said, “they want to be part of the good vibe that’s happening across Franklin County.”