Center residents, staff benefit from Rotary gifts

BENNINGTON — Residents and staff at two local health facilities received a special gift this week, thanks to members of two community organizations.

A total of 245 soft, plush stuffed raccoons, along with bags holding some 800 Christmas cookies, were distributed Wednesday to the Bennington Cancer Center and the Bennington Health and Rehab facilities.

Members with the Rotary clubs in Wilmington and Bennington made the donations.

Angel Balch, a member of the Rotary Club of Deerfield Valley in Wilmington, explained where the idea came from. Her mother-in-law, Sheila, was treated for cancer at the center by Matthew Vernon and his staff, she said. And her father-in-law, David, was a resident of the rehab center for 12 years. Balch said Sheila was an "avid" collector of anything raccoon and had hundreds of stuffed animals.

"Rotarians are always looking for ways to help their communities, so an idea to deliver some of her beloved animals was formulated," Balch said. Shelia "would be very happy to know that others will get joy and a smile from her raccoons."

Ed Damon can be reached at, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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