The Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce has chosen Mary Lee Harris as its Citizen of the Year for 2019 – 2020.
The award is given each year to a Poultney area citizen who has contributed to the betterment of the Poultney community, provided continuing outstanding service to the community, and who demonstrates the true spirit of service, qualities representing the finest ideals of citizenship in the Poultney area.
The Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award is to be given to an “unsung hero”, and this year the organization offers its congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Mary Lee Harris.
Mary Lee will be honored by the Chamber with a reception on Sunday, November 24th from 1 PM to 3 PM at the Poultney Young at Heart Center on Furnace Street in Poultney. The celebration is open to the public.
She will also be a part of the Official Tree Tapping Ceremony at MapleFest in March and serve as Grand Marshall in the Fourth Of July parade.
Mary Lee has spent many volunteer hours working as President and Treasurer of the Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce, and has chaired committees like Spotlight on Business, MapleFest, Town Wide Yard Sales, and the spaghetti supper. She was part of a Town-Gown group designed to improve communications between the college and the town.
Mary Lee grew up in Pittsford and married her high school sweetheart, farmer Bob Harris; the two moved to Castleton when they had a chance to buy a farm. They also ran a business making exotic “mules” – slippers with fur on them which were very popular and even appeared in movies.
She has been a tireless volunteer in many organizations, both in Poultney and the surrounding area. As a young mother she served as a room mother, Girl Scout leader, Boy Scout Den Mother and volunteer, and UVM Extension Craft Leader. She also served on the Castleton School Board.
She is a member of the Castleton Legion Auxiliary and still serves as its historian, as well as being a long-time Bingo Night worker for the Castleton Legion. She currently is a representative to the state Auxiliary organization. She is also active in the Castleton Lions Club
Early in her adult life Mary Lee worked for Mac Williams in Poultney, coming to know many Poultney people and becoming involved in Poultney organizations.
She was an organizer of the SAFE Snowmobile Club of Castleton and served as both president and treasurer; she also became a Safety Instructor for the State of Vermont. She was a member of the Poultney Snow Devils Snowmobile Club and instructor in their Safety Courses for many years. Mary Lee and her husband Bob were part of the founding group for the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers along with Charlie and Evie Monroe of Poultney.
She has served as Vice President of the Poultney Cemetery Association, is a member of the Young at Heart Senior Center, the Castleton Community Center, and St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, where she also volunteers. She has taught knitting to Green Mountain College students, supported area schools and organizations for basket parties, raffles, and other fund-raisers, and ushers at the Paramount Theatre.
The Poultney Area Chamber thanks Mary Lee Harris for all her volunteer activities. A recipient may receive the award one time. A list of past recipients is available on the Citizen of the Year page, or you can call us at 802-287-2010.