2017-12-06 / Front Page

New board members named at Greater Falls Connections

Members of the Greater Falls Connections Board, from left, are Deb Grant, Rhonda Aither, Fred Tipton, Don Tretler, Doreen Stoodley, and Shelley Crawford.  - Courtesy PhotoMembers of the Greater Falls Connections Board, from left, are Deb Grant, Rhonda Aither, Fred Tipton, Don Tretler, Doreen Stoodley, and Shelley Crawford. - Courtesy PhotoBELLOWS FALLS — Greater Falls Connections (GFC) has announced the addition of three new board members, Fred Tipton, Doreen Stoodley, and Shelly Crawford. Annual voting for the board members was conducted during the group’s June coalition meeting at Parks Place Community Resource Center. The board members have shown a commitment to furthering the coalition’s vision to build a healthy, nurturing and supportive community, according to GFC.

Tipton is the assistant director and shop manager BF Community Bike Project. He studied engineering at the Lowell Technological Institute (UMass Lowell) and architecture at The BAC (Boston Architectural College). He has worked as a draftsman and machine operator, and has been an owner/operator of two small Vermont woodworking businesses.

Stoodley is the executive director of the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce (GFRCOC). She is a Certified Vermont State Ambassador and a Vermont Notary Public. She serves on the Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance (BFDDA) board and is a member of Bellows Falls Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization (BFMS PTO) board.

Crawford is in her 10th year as a Family & Consumer Science educator at Bellows Falls Union High School. It is her first time on a board. She is passionate about supporting her kids, grandkids, and students.

Members returning to the board are Deb Grant, Don Tretler, and Rhonda Aither. Grant is a teacher and career advisor for Community College of Vermont. She helps youth and adults in the Greater Falls area meet their education and career goals. After several years of seeing education goals derailed because of substance abuse, Deb began attending coalition meetings and became inspired to get involved in GFC prevention programs and initiatives. Deb has served on the board for three years.

Tretler is an employment consultant with Vermont Association of Business Industry and Rehabilitation in Brattleboro and he has served on the GFC board for more than a year. Tretler has been impressed with the good work GFC has done in the community and wanted to offer support to their mission. The mission of GFC is to connect the community of Windham Northeast by inspiring and empowering people through education and collaboration to promote wellness and prevent the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Aither is the Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program (YSASP) Coordinator at Youth Services of Windham County and has been on the GFC Board for two years. Aither’s work falls under the umbrella of Vermont Court Diversion where the Attorney General’s Office oversees the Restorative Justice Program. Her work with youth in YSASP, where she meets with all Windham County youth who have been involved with law enforcement regarding either alcohol or marijuana, is what led her to attend GFC coalition meetings and to eventually become a GFC board member.

The board recently met with the staff members from Greater Falls Connections to create a shared vision for the future of the organization. This will pave the way for the group to increase the positive impact on the community in the future. 

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