Submitted by AMY JACKMAN
The Essex Rotary Club will honor five local individuals for community service and their dedication to living the Rotary motto of Service above Self. The individuals will be recognized at an annual banquet on February 13 at The Essex.
Dorothy Bergendahl will receive the coveted Service above Self award for her decades of work at the Brownell Library and Essex community. Bergendahl has served on the Friends of the Library and as a trustee on the library board for 24 years. She’s led fundraising efforts, even baked cookies to ensure an adult program was successful. Bergendahl also served as the campaign chair for Brownell’s capital campaign and has helped bring eminent lecturers to the library weekly.
Bergendahl has served on the Vermont Humanities Council board for 14 years. She also served as chair of the Customers Advisory Council for Central Vermont Public Service and works on the Essex Area Senior Center’s Silent Auction Committee.
The Rotary also recognizes emergency responders at the annual banquet. Each recipient must demonstrate exemplary humanitarian service with an emphasis on personal service in the community.
Essex Rescue deputy executive director Colleen Nesto is a paramedic with 19 years experience in emergency service and was among a small group of paramedics to first practice paramedicine in Essex. Community members now receive advanced cardiac life support, pain management, advanced airway management, advanced medical and trauma care at both the bedside and roadside, long before arriving at the ER. Colleen also received an American Heart Association Heartsaver Hero Award for resuscitating a 9-year-old girl. Colleen is a highly competent and skilled paramedic, and she stands out as an EMS leader fully invested in the profession.
Essex Town FD Cpt. Mathew LaRock is a third generation firefighter starting as a cadet at age 12 in his hometown of Waterbury. Matt holds a degree in fire science from VTC and is a certified Firefighter II and EMT. Matt put his knowledge and passion to work and became a career member of the Global Foundries (previously IBM) Fire Service. Matt was promoted to his current rank in 2017 and serves as the EMS captain where he oversees the department’s emergency first response program as well as other duties. In 2013, Matt received the Life Saving Award, the department’s highest honor.
Essex Jct. FD asst. chief John Rowell has been an active member of the EJFD for over 36 years and rose to his current rank. John is an active member of Essex CHIPS and formerly served as the Essex Junction Youth Baseball president. John played a key role in establishing the teen center in Essex Jct. and has spent decades serving his community in many ways.
Essex Police Cpl. Edward Piro started with EPD in 1981 and has worked in both the patrol and detective divisions. Ed has worked many of the most important criminal cases the agency has handled, earning both a lifesaving and employee of the year awards during his tenure. He is one of the hardest working, honest, dedicated, “gumshoe” cops the agency has seen. Ed has just retired after 37 years of dedicated service to this community and state.
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