The award is given each year to a resident of the town of Poultney 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 Dan Williams.
About T. Daniel Williams (2020)
“Selfless” is the word used to describe T. Daniel Williams by those who know him, referring to his volunteer activities at Poultney High School and around town, his willingness to help with large or small tasks, and his love for Poultney and its citizens.
Dan is a lifelong Poultney resident with a solid devotion to the town and a continuing determination to help those who live here. He spent 20 years and many volunteer hours as a fireman, assistant fire chief to his brother Larry, and fire chief, responding to hundreds of fires and accidents during that time. He was also part of the small volunteer group that actually built the fire trucks that the Poultney Fire Company housed at the 1930’s firehouse.
Like his father “Doc” Williams, Dan was a local slate roofer who made a big impact on Poultney. As many hours as that took, he seemed to spend an equal number as a volunteer, serving proudly at Rutland Regional Medical Center in the emergency room.
At Poultney High School he volunteered as part of the Boosters Club, including as president, kept time for football, coached 7th and 8th grade basketball, and Varsity baseball. He also raised money to help children attend sports camps, leadership conferences, or for scholarships. Currently he is a door and hall monitor at the school, and knows the name of every child, giving freely of his time to counsel kids who need a new direction, and provide a shoulder and a listening ear.
Dan’s volunteer activities are not limited to organizations. He volunteers at the transfer station, collecting bottles and cans and turning the proceeds over to various charities. He has given both money and time freely to those in need, including helping out with chores at the Moyer farm when Ken Moyer passed away suddenly. He helped build the new fence around the East Poultney Cemetery. Dan also volunteers to disinfect local churches so worshippers can be safe.
Dan rarely, if ever, asks anything for himself. He goes quietly about, contributing to Poultney and her citizens without fanfare or boast, and with a happy heart: a true “unsung hero”.
About Mary Lee Harris (2019)
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.
Past Citizen of the Year Recipients
T. Daniel “Dan” Williams
Mary Lee Harris
Ida Mae Johnson
Josephine “Jo” S. Williams
Poultney Fire Department
(Poultney Hose Co. No. 1)
Sheila H. Nichols
Una Jean Capman
Robert N. “Bob” Williams, Jr.
Maurice H. “Moe” Wade
Ernest “Ernie” DeMatties
Ruth W. Czar
Mike & Sheryl Porrier
Russell I. Williams, Jr.
David & Maureen Capman
Charles & Evelyn “Evie” Monroe
William D. “Doc” Williams
Charles “Chuck” & Katie Colvin
William Henry Gardner
William “Bill” DeBonis
Helen & Lloyd Jones, Janice Edwards, & Gladys Jean Riggs
Vincent & Beverly Drake
Kay (Bertilino) Potter Davis
M. Raymond “Ray” Roberts