announced October 1, 2018
On Saturday, September 29th at the Annual Burke Fall Festival in East Burke, Vermont, the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the 2018 Burke Citizen of the Year award to local resident, Des Hertz. Chamber Board Member, John Kascenska, surprised Hertz with the award in recognition of her leadership role with the One Burke organization. Hertz received a plaque reading: In great appreciation of outstanding dedication, leadership, and action to help unite & engage residents of Burke to better their community.
In front of a cheering crowd, on behalf of the Chamber and the entire community, Kascenska thanked Hertz for her work with One Burke and for “rallying people to take part in efforts to improve the community.”
One Burke was formed in 2017 as a result of a series of community visits organized by the Vermont Council on Rural Development in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation. Among many recommendations from community members, Hertz was chosen to lead the process as the Community Visit Chair. As expected, Hertz provided strong, dedicated leadership, rallying community members to get involved in planning for the future of Burke. The visits provided idea gathering sessions so that Burke residents could voice their thoughts on a vision for the community. As a result of the visits, the One Burke organization was formed and includes a group of citizens committed to work to make positive changes in the town of Burke. With the formation of One Burke, the following task forces were also created: Educational Facilities, Pedestrian Safety & Trails, and Village Infrastructure. Priorities of the task forces include creating singletrack bike trails to connect East and West Burke and working with local and state agencies to study drinking water and wastewater systems in Burke. Hertz continues to be a leader in the One Burke organization including promoting its mission, encouraging active involvement from the community, and working in collaboration with other local organizations including the Town of Burke and the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce. Hertz is also part of the Task Force charged with expanding educational facilities in Burke. To learn more about One Burke, visit www.oneburke.org.
“I‘m honored to be recognized with the award Citizen of the Year from the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce,” Hertz said. “The One Burke organization has given me the opportunity to connect with so many folks in our community and to help facilitate conversations about Burke. More importantly, the volunteers who comprise One Burke have made great progress toward the priorities the community set forth last year at our community gatherings facilitated by VCRD and VCF. We are excited to gather folks together again on Tuesday, October 9 at 5:30pm at the Burke Town School to share the work that has been done and make a plan for next steps."
Hertz lives in Burke Hollow with her husband, two daughters, and a menagerie of critters. For many years, she was a teacher at Burke Town School and The Riverside School. Currently, she works as District Literacy Coach for the Kingdom East School District which includes Burke Town School, Lyndon Town School, Lunenburg/Gilman Schools, Concord School, Newark Street School, Miller’s Run School, and Sutton Village School. Hertz also volunteers her time with Kingdom Kids, a non-profit, all volunteer organization that provides outdoor recreational opportunities to Northeast Kingdom children who would not otherwise have the chance to participate in these activities. Kingdom Kids partners with Kingdom Trails, Burke Mountain Resort, Village Sport Shop, and other local businesses to provide these opportunities to local youth.