KILLINGTON—Tom Alcorn, senior program coordinator at Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, recognized three volunteers at the Vermont Adaptive Volunteer Orientation held at Pico Mountain on Nov. 7, according to a Dec. 9 release.
Aaron Korzun, Amy Peacock and Tony Blake were named 2015 Volunteers of the Year, a tribute in honor of Jim Hutchinson, a Vermont Adaptive volunteer who left a legacy of empowerment to people of all abilities and commitment towards supporting the organization. The three were nominated for their immeasurable dedication and efforts to help people with disabilities and special needs recreate statewide.
“Each year, there are a few individuals that shine,” said Alcorn. “These folks are involved with Vermont Adaptive in exemplary ways. In addition to being a part of an individual program location, they each represent the organization as a whole. We’ve had years where a dozen individuals were recognized and years where one single person stood out the most. Jim Hutchinson was the most dedicated volunteer Vermont Adaptive or any organization could hope for. I know he would be so proud of our accomplishments in what we have built over the last year.”
Blake, of Charlotte, was nominated for his professionalism in his teaching, his infectious enthusiasm for Vermont Adaptive, and the generosity of his time, talent and resources. “He has grown in his years with the program from a novice rookie to a lead instructor of trainer caliber who can be confidently sent out on the hill with the most challenging of students,” said Alcorn. “He is a cultural leader on the teaching staff, consistently modeling the levels of support, enthusiasm, and professionalism for other volunteers to emulate.” Blake is a volunteer at Sugarbush Resort and is known by many for his humility, dependability and great talent as a ski instructor.
Peacock, of Mendon, has been a dedicated volunteer at Vermont Adaptive for more than five years. She volunteers as often as she can in both the winter and summer seasons, with Pico Mountain as her home base.
This year she also was a volunteer at Vermont Adaptive’s first C.O.R.E Connections health and wellness program and was the coordinator for the adaptive riders this summer at the fifth annual Long Trail Century Ride to benefit Vermont Adaptive. “Her skiing ability and teaching skills have always been excellent, but what truly sets her apart is her ability to make everyone around her feel so supported and cared for,” said Alcorn. “Often when one of our participants is struggling, her gentle nature helps them to refocus and get back to learning. She is extremely giving of her time, energy and positive nature.” Peacock brings her invaluable career experience as a physical therapist to the table and has dedicated her time and knowledge to helping people with disabilities recreate year-round.
Korzun, of Shrewsbury, has logged countless hours at Vermont Adaptive as a volunteer at all of Vermont Adaptive’s fundraiser events throughout the state, as well as programming throughout the summer and winter. Every year he has continued training on all adaptive lessons and this year he is seeking his Adaptive Level 2 certification. “He is always giving of his time and is looked to by new and returning volunteers alike for advice, support and general knowledge of our participants,” said Alcorn. “Never seeking praise, he is very humble and quick to compliment volunteers, participants, staff, and anyone else involved with Vermont Adaptive. His participant’s safety, joy and learning are the highest priority on any lessons he is involved in and his can-do attitude and teamwork skills make everyone’s day consistently enjoyable.”
It is the passion, talent, dedication and generosity of individuals like Blake, Peacock and Korzun that help make Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports the successful organization it is today and help people with disabilities rediscover their potential. At Vermont Adaptive more than 400 trained volunteers dedicate their free time as summer and winter recreational instructors throughout the entire state of Vermont, as well as providing support for fundraising and events. Collectively, Vermont Adaptive volunteers put in more than 24,000 hours annually and the organization would not be where it is today without the undying support of these individuals.
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is a nationally recognized organization that empowers people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of ability to pay. In addition to sports, year round programming options integrate environmental, holistic wellness, and competitive training philosophies for people of all ages with cognitive, developmental, physical and emotional behavioral disabilities.
Vermont Adaptive promotes independence and furthers equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational opportunities including alpine skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports; kayaking, canoeing, sailing, cycling, hiking, rock climbing, tennis, horseback riding, and more. More than 400 volunteers serve clients of all abilities with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities from all over the world in three winter programming locations in Vermont: Pico Mountain at Killington; Sugarbush Resort in Warren; and Bolton Valley Resort in Bolton. Summer programs are provided state-wide. For more information, visit www.vermontadaptive.org.