Vermont Adaptive Announces 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award-Winners

Two individuals are recognized for going above and beyond in their selfless work for Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports in 2014. 

KILLINGTON — Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, the largest year-round disabled sports non-profit organization in Vermont to offer programs on a daily, year-round basis, recently announced that Laura Schutz, of Burlington, and Frank Kelley, of Chester are the 2014 recipients of the organization’s annual Jim Hutchinson Volunteer of the Year Award.

“These two volunteers exemplify what Jim Hutchinson stood for when it comes to being a volunteer,” said Executive Director Erin Fernandez. “They tirelessly offered their time and talent to the organization throughout the year and truly stood apart with their willingness to learn and execute many aspects of our programs and fundraisers. They go above and beyond what a volunteer is asked to do and for that we are grateful.”

The Jim Hutchinson Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award honors the exemplary efforts of outstanding individuals. Jim Hutchinson embodied the meaning of volunteer with his tireless dedication, strong leadership and big heart. Each year individuals are nominated for the annual volunteer of the year award in his honor and names are added to a memorial plaque hanging at each program location throughout the state. Not only was Hutchinson a stalwart volunteer, he served as the organization’s president.

Schutz has been involved with Vermont Adaptive as a volunteer since 2006 and volunteers at the organization’s program location, Sugarbush Resort, in the winter, and in Chittenden County during the warmer months. She is PSIA-Level 1 adaptive certified. She volunteered more than 100 hours with Vermont Adaptive in 2014.

“Many people see her positivity, passion and dedication shine through when she teaches lessons, but Laura goes above and beyond to help Vermont Adaptive grow behind the scenes,” said Heather Timins, program coordinator for Vermont Adaptive. “She helps at year-round fundraisers, writes grants through her work, recruits new volunteers, and helps mentor new volunteers as well.” In 2014 she wrote and submitted a grant application to IBM’s community grants program, and as a result, Vermont Adaptive was awarded a $1,000 grant.

Kelley’s entire family participates and volunteers with Vermont Adaptive and has been for at least 10 years. His enthusiasm for his family, his teaching career and Vermont Adaptive is tireless. Kelley has mentored countless volunteers in numerous locations on a year-round basis.

“His positive, friendly outgoing nature is only matched by his willingness to help out any way possible,” said Tom Alcorn, senior program coordinator at Vermont Adaptive. “You’ll see Frank on the slopes, you’ll see Frank in the parking lot at 5 a.m. at the Long Trail Century Ride or the Vermont 50 parking cars or helping at an aid station, and then you’ll see him two hours later riding in the event, with a whole team of people from his home town he recruited, and then you’ll see him help clean up, and maybe having a beer.”

Kelley also is known for his innovation, always looking for creative ways to make the experience an amazing one for his athlete. He believes doing something differently allows for instructors to push the envelope in a safe way to fine tune what is needed for the athlete.

“If a guy can do it with one leg, I can do it with two,” said Kelley. “I look forward to it. It’s a family endeavor. We all pitch in in different ways.”