SWANTON — Fifty years after his father, Dexter Spaulding, received the prestigious honor, Swanton Rexall pharmacist Troy Spaulding was honored with the Bowl of Hygeia Award last week, in recognition of his many years of service not just in pharmacy, but in the community.

Friends and family surprised Spaulding with the award during a workday at the pharmacy last week.

“I’m humbled and honored, for sure. I never expected it,” Spaulding said in an interview Friday.

But to those who know and work with him, it was a long time coming.

“Community service, in any form, is important to me. Troy is an integral part of his community,” said Sandra Rosa, Northern Tier Center for Health (NOTCH) pharmacy director and member of the Vermont Pharmacists Association board of directors.

The Bowl of Hygeia Award, established in 1958, recognizes pharmacists who possess outstanding records of civic leadership in their communities, according to the American Pharmacists Association Foundation. The award is presented annually by participating state pharmacy associations, in this case the Vermont Pharmacists Association.

Rosa, who nominated Spaulding, said she met him when she was looking for work in the area after moving to Alburgh in 2009. Rosa said she got to know Spaulding very well, and was impressed by his ability to balance running the pharmacy with serving the community.

But for Spaulding, who ran the nearly 60-year-old store after buying it from his father and uncle in 2002 until he sold it to NOTCH in 2018, it was all part of growing up in the Spaulding household.

“My dad was really involved in the community, so he gave me a sense of wanting to do that as well,” Spaulding said in an interview Friday.

Over the years, that work has included two terms on the local school board, volunteering with the Swanton Fire Department, and time spent as part of the library commission.

“Him and his father were figures in the community, so it just made sense,” said Olivia Sprague, one of Spaulding’s four children and a fellow pharmacist at the store.

Sprague, age 30, said she started working the front register when she was in middle school, back when Swanton Rexall had a storefront in addition to the pharmacy. At age 18 she became a pharmacy technician, and at age 21 she became an intern.

“I used to come here for fun when I was little, just to hang out,” she said. “… It’s really special. I know it would feel completely different working somewhere else. To have NOTCH continue the family feel here has been important, for us and for the community.”

Spaulding said he is proud to see Sprague continue to work at the pharmacy his father started in 1962.

“I’m very proud. I’m surprised that any of my kids wanted to do it,” the 35-year pharmacist said with a smile.

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