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Coat Drive Thrives in 30th Year

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To the Editor,

The 30th annual “Karen Kitzmiller Memorial Winter Coat Drive” was held on Saturday, October 26, and it was one for the record book! It was a huge success, both in Montpelier and Barre. More winter coats, warm blankets and comforters, and winter accessories were given away than ever before.

The coat drive was started in 1989 by my first wife, Karen, who was running (successfully) to be one of Montpelier’s state representatives. I helped her with that first drive and every year thereafter and continued it after she died in 2001 through to this 30th anniversary event.

More than a decade ago, Community National Bank became my partner in the drive, and the bank has been invaluable. They took over all the publicity and collected coats, both at the Montpelier branch and the Barre branch. In Barre, the coat drive is actually held inside the bank on North Main Street. The bank has my deep gratitude for all their assistance. Lorilee Drown, who manages both the Montpelier and Barre branches said, “We had a wonderful collection of coats and blankets. It had a great impact.” I want to give special thanks to Tracy Roberts, marketing director of the bank, for her leadership in promoting the coat drive in both cities.

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Knowing the day would come when I’d need to seek an organization to take my place, I reached out to the Montpelier Rotary Club to be an ideal organization to sponsor the drive, and to my great pleasure they agreed. Rotary is now the official sponsor, in partnership with CNB. Three Rotarians—Kim Bent, Melinda Vieux, and Renee Grzankowski—have volunteered to manage the event for the Rotary Club.

As my leadership of the coat drive comes to a close, I want to extend a very special “Thank you” to my good friend and “uber-volunteer” Theresa Giffin, who for many years has brilliantly handled the job of organizing the many, many community volunteers that are needed to run this successful event. It is safe to say that I could not have done it without you, Theresa. You rock!

And, of course, these drives could never have happened if not for the thousands of generous people throughout Central Vermont who have donated countless thousands of winter coats over the past three decades. Thank you!

With the leadership of the Montpelier Rotary Club and Community National Bank, I look forward to October 2020 for the 31st Karen Kitzmiller Memorial Winter Coat Drive. I fully anticipate it will be even bigger and better than ever before!

Most sincerely,

Warren Kitzmiller, Montpelier state representative