BENNINGTON -- After more than two decades of leadership in the community, Elaine Letourneau has retired from The Bank of Bennington.
Rather than slowing down, since leaving her position as senior vice president of lending in September, Letourneau has been adding more commitments to her extensive list of community service and civic involvements.
"That's who she is, she wants to help people," said Jim Brown, president of The Bank of Bennington.
Named the 2012 Outstanding Community Service Banker by the Vermont Bankers Association, Letourneau has worked at the 155 North St. location for 21 years.
"Elaine was responsible in large part in driving the customer service culture of our bank, and our internal culture of how we treat our employees," said Brown, who has worked with Letourneau for the past 12 years and nominated her for the award.
"She has helped countless people better themselves and advance their careers," said Brown. "She does it by setting standards and leading by example."
Letourneau has worked in banking since before she graduated from college, working as a part-time teller before receiving her bachelor's degree in public relations from Utica College.
"I started banking in 1979," said the recent retiree. "I was lucky enough to have the ability to work in a bank for a short time while still living at home with my parents."
After moving from her hometown in Amsterdam, Letourneau married her husband, Charlie, who also recently retired from T.D. Bank. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Kristen.
"They have no interest in banking," laughed their mother. However, even without following in their parents' career footsteps, the example both set for leadership in the community has surely made an impression.
Elaine Letourneau has served on the boards of the Emergency Food and Fuel Free Clinic, the American Red Cross, the Bennington County Industrial Corp. and the United Way.
Currently she is focusing on youth ministry services, along with her husband, helping members of the congregation at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in North Bennington.
"She's been very active with our youth -- very dynamic and very engaging," said Father Bob Wiseman, CSC, who has witnessed Letourneau's involvement after only six months of living in the community.
"She is also on our Finance Committee for the parish, and now that she has the freedom has been able to attend our daily Mass," said Wiseman.
Letourneau also counts one of her favorite organizations to volunteer her time at as Applegate Housing in Bennington, which assists low-income residents with finding residences in its 103 apartment units.
Serving as president of the 12-member board, which includes residents as well as community members, Letourneau has led the housing development within the community for nearly 20 years.
"Elaine is wonderful. She's easily one of the nicest, most easy-going people I've met -- ever," said Kimberly Funck, executive director of Applegate.
"Any changes we've made at Applegate, she's always been there to support our decisions," said Funck.
Also on the Applegate Finance Committee, Letourneau was on board when the development decided to buy a freezer, ensuring that "there is always a freezer full of food, should a family find themselves in hard times," said Letourneau.
Another point she is proud of -- a staff member of Applegate is present to assist youth with their homework after school.
"There are some grants that we've always gotten that we're so grateful for," said Letourneau, modestly acquiescing to her local contributions.
Although this time of year is busy for the Letourneaus, Elaine hopes to spend time in Florida in upcoming seasons.
"I think my husband and I are both Northern people," she said of her partner of 30 years. "I hope we'll be able to relax a little bit, and get a tan. But we'll be back."
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