Bee’s Wrap, Dr Fred Kniffin, and HOPE are 2019 Addison Chamber award recipients

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MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized a local business, individual, and non-profit organization with awards during its annual meeting held on October 24th at the Middlebury Inn.

Three awards were presented in front of a crowd which included Chamber members, local business people, and community members.

Bee’s Wrap, located in Middlebury, received the 2019 Business of the Year Award which recognizes businesses that have grown, sometimes despite adversity, while providing excellent products or services while doing well by their employees and the community.

Bee’s Wrap started with a question facing many families and home cooks: How can we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?

The company creates wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage and has seen rapid growth since its inception in 2012, moving from the founder’s basement to New Haven, then Bristol, and now Exchange Street in Middlebury.

Shawn Oxford of Bristol Financial Services presented the award to the founder, Sarah Kaeck, who shared, “We are honored to have our business in Addison County. We are proud of where we live and where we work. We are proud to bring suppliers and business partners to the area.”

The 2019 Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Fred Kniffin of UVM/Porter Medical Center.

Dr. Kniffin exemplifies the criteria for which the award is given — a history of getting things done to make the community better, with no intention of personal reward or recognition.

Tom Manion, vice president at Porter, introduced Dr. Kniffin sharing the three traits he believes make the hospital’s leader worthy of this recognition: fantastic communication, discipline, as well as being patient and people-centered.

Manion shared, “Fred cares deeply about the way this community is cared for.”

Upon receiving the Buster Brush Award, Dr. Kniffin reflected on his 29 years at Porter and in this community saying, “I have the best job in the world. My job is an award in and of itself,” emphasizing the meaningful, rewarding work and the great people he has the opportunity to work with.

The Chamber’s 2019 Community Achievement Award is given to a non-profit organization that provides a significant and sustained contribution to the wellbeing of the area.

This year’s award was presented to HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects) whose mission is to improve the lives of low-income people in Addison County, by working with individuals to identify and secure the resources needed to meet their basic needs.

Meaghan McLaughlin of the National Bank of Middlebury presented the award, highlighting the organization’s quantifiable impact this year alone: 72,000 meals served, 400 people assisted with housing, heat, work, and medical needs, 581 children benefiting from the holiday program, and 993 new clients.

McLaughlin emphasized the organization’s dynamic and flexible response to the needs of the community, giving impressive improvements to the organization’s food shelf as an example.

The award was accepted by Jeanne Montross, executive director of the organization who said, “The work HOPE does is only possible because of the community in which we exist. You help make our work possible.”