6th Annual Heroes & Leaders Celebration Honors Young Leaders of the Upper Valley

Event Benefits Vital Communities’ Leadership Upper Valley Program


May 4, 2017 – White River Junction, Vt. – Vital Communities will recognize 11 young leaders and their contributions to the Upper Valley at the sixth annual Heroes & Leaders Celebration on Wednesday, May 24, at the Quechee Club in Quechee, Vt. The annual dinner, which benefits the Leadership Upper Valley program of Vital Communities, honors community members who have made significant positive impacts in the region.


“The young leaders we’re honoring this year are passionate about building the Upper Valley community—and their accomplishments are truly inspiring,” said Vital Communities Executive Director Tom Roberts. “From addressing the region’s opiate epidemic, to bringing aquaponics into schools nationwide, to strengthening the local economy, these young leaders represent a range of approaches toward a common goal: community. We’re so pleased to recognize these eleven and know there are many more young leaders making our region a better place to live, work, and play every day.”


This year’s Heroes & Leaders honorees are:


Paul Coats, Lebanon Recreation & Parks

Noah Crane, Upper Valley Nighthawks

Elyse Crossman, Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce

Emily Donaldson, Cultivating Action

Sam Drazin, Changing Perspectives

Gordon Ehret, Hypertherm

Nicole LaBombard, Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Dan McGee, Red River

Merritt Partridge, Tuck School of Business

Stephanie Thompson, Springfield Prevention Coalition

Holly West, Friends of Mascoma Foundation


Attorney Markell Ripps, Board member and past chair of Upper Valley Young Professionals and a Vital Communities board member and graduate of Leadership Upper Valley, will provide closing remarks for the evening. A limited number of tickets is still available. Learn more and reserve seats at VitalCommunities.org/HeroesAndLeaders.


Leadership Upper Valley is a 10-month professional and personal development program that inspires, educates, and engages community members to better serve the Upper Valley by building their networks and their knowledge of the region’s challenges, opportunities, and resources. Apply by June 1 for the 2017-18 session at VitalCommunities.org/LeadershipUpperValley.


Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., brings together citizens, organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. 

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