Former longtime Shelburne state representative and town leader Joan G. Lenes was honored with the Hoff-Curtis Leadership Award at the Vermont Democratic Party annual dinner in Burlington on April 13.
Lenes was nominated by Shelbrune Rep. Jessica Brumsted. The following is the text of her nomination letter for Lenes:
I would like to nominate for the Hoff-Curtis Leadership Award. Joan has been a loyal dedicated Shelburne town leader for the past 30 years. She served in the Vermont General Assembly, representing the town of Shelburne from 2007 thru 2016. She was a leader among her colleagues, always looking for ways to collaborate with all representatives to come to resolutions that please everyone. She is respected and loved by many in our town and in our state. In my short time at the legislature, I can’t tell you the number of times I have been stopped by legislators and government officials as they express how much they enjoyed working with Joan and how much she is missed. Throughout her 10 years at the legislature, Joan never missed a Tuesday morning at the Bagel Bakery to meet with her constituents to discuss issues and resolve problems.
Joan has also served for more than 25 years on the Chittenden South Supervisory Union local school board. She continues to show her deep commitment to our community and the education of our children by stepping up and helping our townspeople understand the benefits of forming a consolidated board for the Chittenden South Supervisory Union to which she was elected.
I’ve had the privilege of working with Joan for several years on projects ranging from housing and homelessness efforts in her hometown (never boring) to her leadership at the legislature to more recently her volunteering to raise money to convert St. Joseph School into a community center.
Joan is also a dedicated loyal fan of our own University of Vermont, where she has served the past six years on the Board of Trustees and has been a faithful hockey fan ever since her own son played there. As a mom, she is also very proud of her daughter who works in the new alumni office and is always willing to speak on behalf of the university she loves.
Over the years, Joan has given and given to her town through her work with our elected officials on the select board; her longtime membership on the Charlotte/Shelburne Rotary Club and the Shelburne Business and Professional Association. She was a founder of Robin’s Nest Children’s Center, and is a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels. Joan is also the Chair of the Emerge Board, an organization started by Governor Madeleine Kunin, to help prepare Democratic women to run for political office and accept leadership positions in our communities. This past year, Emerge was responsible for helping many Democratic women be prepared to run for office throughout our state.
If you have ever worked with Joan on a project, you’ll understand when I say it really is a privilege to work with her. This is primarily because of two things: she gets things done, and it doesn’t ever feel like work.
The other obvious thing about Joan is that she really, really cares about the people around her and the social fabric of our communities.
I believe there is no other person I know who exemplifies more true dedication to their community than Joan Lenes. I know this to be true because I spent countless hours with Joan this past year. She introduced me to hundreds of residents from Shelburne and St. George. She cares passionately about these folks, their families where their children go to school and how they integrate in our communities. She celebrates people’s accomplishments; and she cries with people who are struggling with sickness and tragedy and rejoices with them when they are happy. There is not a name that comes up in conversation that she doesn’t recognize if they live in Shelburne or St. George. She is always there with a helping hand, always setting up for events whether it’s Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Town Meeting Day, the Halloween parade, farmer’s markets – you name a place in our community where help is needed and you will find Joan Lenes there with a big grin and a hug, no matter what! It is for all these reasons and many, many more that I am proud to nominate Joan Lenes for the Hoff – Curtis Leadership Award.