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Patrick L.
Democrat VT

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  • Recognizing Tony Pomerleau’s Generosity

    by Senator Patrick J. Leahy

    Posted on 2013-03-14

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    LEAHY. Mr. President, I have spoken many times on the floor of the Senate about Antonio Pomerleau of Burlington, VT. As my wife, Marcelle, has often said, he is her ``favorite Uncle Tony.'' Given his extraordinary service and dedication to the people of our state, it is safe to say that he is every Vermonter's ``favorite Uncle Tony.'' Tony has done so much for so many, from his enormously generous contribution to help the survivors of Hurricane Irene, through his constant and generous support of our Vermont National Guard and their families, to most recently his large donation to the Community Health Centers of Burlington, in memory of his daughter, Anne Marie.

    Marcelle and I of course knew her cousin Anne Marie, and we warmly remember her spirit and her life. Even though health problems nearly immobilized her toward the end, the cheer, love and friendship she gave--not only to members of the family but to everyone else--was a treasure in all of our lives. Tony continues to lift Vermonters' spirits and make lives better in so many ways. I have an article from The Burlington Free Press that highlights yet another token of Uncle Tony's generosity.

    I ask unanimous consent that this article be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [From the Burlington Free Press, Mar. 6, 2013] Pomerleau Gives to Health Centers--Community Health Centers of Burlington Receive $200,000 Gift ``You people deserve the thanks for the outstanding work you do,'' Burlington businessman Tony Pomerleau told a small crowd Wednesday afternoon at the Riverside Health Center. ``I just come up with the money, that's all.'' Applause and cheers greeted Pomerleau's announcement of a $200,000 donation to Community Health Centers of Burlington in memory of his daughter, Anne Marie.

    ``This is a large gift for us,'' beamed Jack Donnelly, the executive director of the centers.

    He said the sum would be dedicated to the nonprofit's Homeless Health Care Program.

    Specifically, Donnelly said, it will fund improvements to the basement at Safe Harbor Health Center at South Winooski Avenue and King Street--one of the Community Health Centers' four facilities in Burlington.

    Director of Community Relations Alison Calderara summarized the centers' mission: It provides sliding-scale health, dental and human services; and includes low-cost prescription programs, social work support and interpreters for non- English speaking patients.

    Soon after Wednesday's fanfare subsided, it segued into mid-day sandwiches.

    The philanthropist made himself comfortable in an armchair and indulged in a little storytelling.

    It turns out that Pomerleau has good reason to be grateful for easy access to health care: When he was 2 or 3 years old he tumbled into the basement of his family's summer kitchen.

    ``I wore a cast iron brace for four years,'' he said.

    His parents regularly took the boy 50 miles north by train to Sherbrooke, Quebec, for treatment.

    For Pomerleau, who is in his mid-90s now, the half-dozen years after the accident remain a blank.

    ``The lights came on when I was seven or eight,'' he said. ``The doctors told my parents I might reach 10, but I'd never reach 12.'' ``I'd been awake, of course,'' Pomerleau continued. ``I'd learned English in school; I'd grown--but I don't remember anything.

    ``Now, people say I remember too much,'' he said.


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