A couple of Lower Bartonsville residents and folks from the Community Asylum Seekers Project gathered recently at the village’s iconic covered bridge to kick off a fundraiser to help asylum seekers bridge the gap between their former lives and new ones in this country.
On hand were Chris Langston and Marvie Campbell, who live nearby, and CASP supporters Laurel Green, Steve Crofter, John Bohannon, and Dempster Leech.
Local painter Charlie Hunter has donated a poster-size framed print (13” x 22”) of his painting of the bridge, plus a booklet of some of his other prints, that will be raffled off, with the proceeds to help CASP in its work of providing aid and resources to adults and children who are currently living in the county while they await their court dates for asylum hearings.
The bridge gained international fame in 2011 when it was swept away by the waters of Tropical Storm Irene, all recorded by another resident, Susan Hammond. With help from Hammond, her neighbors, and others who loved the old bridge, a new one was constructed in 2012.
“The loss of the bridge and the determination of those who advocated for its rebuilding are the perfect metaphor for what we are trying to do to help asylum seekers,” Bohannon said. “They have lost their former lives but are working hard to build new ones here.”
Chances for the raffle at $1 each or six for $5 and can be purchased at the Saxtons River Fourth of July and during the summer and fall at other southeastern Vermont events that will be announced on the CASP Facebook page, or by sending a check to CASP, in care of John Bohannon, P.O. Box 268, Saxtons River, VT 05154.
CASP supporters and friends will also have tickets. The drawing will be held in November and the winner notified the following day. The print can be mailed to the winner anywhere in the continental U.S.
CASP is a nonprofit organization founded in 2016 by a small band of Vermonters with a vision of providing a safe haven in their Vermont community for some of those seeking to escape violence and persecution in their home countries.
Currently, there are eight adults and three children living in the area under CASP’s sponsorship. Further information is available on the CASP website, www.caspvt.org.