A Fair to Remember: The Story of Jackie LaBounty
County fairs celebrate community. They bring together some of the best elements that an area has to offer while never losing sight of the goal: to have fun. Whether it’s riding the ferris wheel, visiting the farm animals or enjoying baked goods, the fair is one of those places that has something for everyone. Though, perhaps more importantly, it also gives individuals who may not otherwise meet one another, a chance to connect.
The Champlain Valley Fair held in Essex Junction, Vermont first opened in 1923 – making it a similar in age to some of our clients. And also like many of those we serve, it has continued to grow and develop over time, despite challenges. One of the more recent additions is special days where particular groups can receive a discount on fair admission. This year, Tuesday, August 29, is Senior Day at the Fair where individuals over the age of 55 can receive a discount at the gate.
Yet, there is more to Senior Day than just the special price. Each year, Age Well hosts a luncheon on Senior Day that commemorates a local champion to those in need. Jackie Labounty was a devoted Age Well volunteer for almost thirty years. Preparing food, cleaning up tables, and listening to patrons, Jackie pitched in every day of the week at meal sites in Chittenden County to ensure that those we serve received a warm, nutritious meal. Not shy to new faces, she thrived on treating everyone like family and possessed the kindness and compassion that individuals gravitated towards. Unsurprisingly, Jackie became an invaluable part of Age Well’s nutrition team where she time and again acted as a gracious ambassador on behalf of our nonprofit organization.
As part of her volunteer efforts, Jackie regularly spent mornings at The Dutch Mill Family Restaurant in Shelburne, the home of one of Age Well’s congregate meal sites. Out of pure graciousness, Jackie would be the first to arrive to the restaurant, making everyone’s lives a little easier by brewing the coffee and setting up the restaurant for the day. Her innate desire to take care of people led Jackie to become a relied upon member of The Dutch Mill crew.
When Jackie passed away on November 4, 2011, The Dutch Mill closed for business on the day of her service. To honor and remember her dedication to the community, Jamie Bissonette, the owner, created the Jackie LaBounty Memorial Fundraiser, a luncheon for the aging population on Senior Day at the fair.
Age Well carries on this tradition; and now in its fifth year, due to the lasting memory of Jackie LaBounty and the generosity of The Champlain Valley Expo, more than 250 older adults enjoy not only a day at the fair and the chance to connect with their community, but also a nourishing meal that commemorates a local champion. Fore more information, call our Helpline: 1-800-642-5119.
To help make Senior Day at the Champlain Valley Fair possible, Age Well has created sponsorship opportunities for local businesses. To learn more, visit our Senior Day at the Fair page.