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Patrick L.
Democrat VT

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  • Tribute to Lois McClure

    by Senator Patrick J. Leahy

    Posted on 2014-01-09

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    LEAHY. Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to commemorate the outstanding achievements of Ms. Lois McClure, voted the 2013 Vermonter of the Year by The Burlington Free Press.

    I am honored to count Lois among my closest friends. Marcelle and I are constantly inspired by her deep and sustained commitment to Vermont and to those of us who call it home.

    As I have worked in public service, I have often looked for guidance in the breadth and depth of Lois McClure's philanthropic work. Year after year, Lois has found just the right points of leverage for her work to make Vermont a better place.

    Lois McClure continues to build on a legacy of support for the arts, cultural and historic preservation, and environmental conservation, and yet her most meaningful work may be the help that she has provided Vermonters confronting serious medical problems. Whether or not they recognize it, many, many Vermonters have Lois in their corner as they fight back against cancer and other serious illness.

    The Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, the Visiting Nurses Association, the American Cancer Society of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care, and many other Vermont institutions are able to better serve Vermonters today because of Lois's commitment.

    I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record an article about this exceptional Vermonter who has dedicated her life to improving her community and the lives of those around her.

    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [From the Burlington Free Press, Dec. 31, 2013] 2013 Vermonter of the Year: Lois McClure The true measure of an act of philanthropy can be taken in the lasting impact of what the initial donation set in motion.

    Years after the act of giving, the efforts and institutions Lois McClure has chosen to support continue their good work.

    McClure's engagement reflects a broad range, many with a common theme a focus on building a better life for people of all ages in her community.

    For her life-long commitment to enriching people's lives in ways big and small, the Burlington Free Press editorial board names philanthropist Lois McClure 2013 Vermonter of the Year.

    Over the years, McClure has built a legacy of generosity and caring, started decades ago with her late husband, J. Warren ``Mac'' McClure, former owner of the Burlington Free Press who sold the newspaper to the Gannett Co. in 1971.

    The McClure name can be seen on buildings throughout Burlington and the surrounding area speaking to the long record of giving for which this couple has long been known in this community.

    Lois McClure carried on the work after her husband's death in 2004, and clearly made her own mark on her friends and neighbors, as well as people who may never have heard her name. These are just some of McClure's good works.

    She continues to serve as a director of the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation founded in 1995, which focuses on improving access for Vermonters to higher education and life- long learning.

    She is a major benefactor of the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center--Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on the Burlington waterfront, a wonderland to children, especially, who explore what lies beneath the waters of the lake.

    The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum named its schooner Lois McClure in honor of her support for the effort to build a replica of a sailing canal boat that plied the Broad Lake in the early 1860s.

    McClure, along with her husband, have long been enthusiastic supporters of the Shelburne Museum, and she has made generous gifts to organizations ranging from the Burlington Community Land Trust to the Vermont Historical Society.

    Following a $1 million donation to the Visiting Nurse Association in 2006, McClure told the Free Press, ``I get a kick out of donating money and seeing that money make a difference.'' Yet among all her giving, the realization of a temporary home for cancer patients and their families who are receiving treatment at near-by Fletcher Allen Health Care perhaps became McClure's signature project.

    The American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge opened in Burlington in 2008, named the Lois McClure-Bee Tabakin Building in honor of McClure and her long-time friend who each lost a daughter to cancer.

    The call for nominations for Vermonter of the Year asked readers to ``Think of someone who has made a difference this year or through a lifetime of work; someone who stepped up in a time of need or proved to be a leader; someone whose acts or accomplishments embodied the best of Vermont.'' McClure has been nominated by readers many times over the years. In 2006, Jane Osborne McKnight wrote in a particularly telling nominating letter, ``I have never met Lois, but have admired her good works for many years. . . . She has personally enriched our cultural life in Vermont and furthered our understanding of Vermont history. These are good deeds that will be felt, undoubtedly, for many generations.'' McClure has lived a life that embodies the best qualities of a Vermonter who looks out for her neighbor and lives for the betterment of her community.

    The Burlington Free Press' imminent departure from the College Street building it has occupied since the 1830s creates an appropriate occasion to give McClure the applause she deserves. The paper once owned by McClure's family is moving soon into new quarters on Bank Street.

    McClure has built a legacy of making a real difference to many people.

    The Burlington Free Press names Lois McClure--a friend to Vermonters, today and for generations to come--2013 Vermonter of the Year.


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