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Our most vital investment

In these difficult times, supporting one another and our communities is the right move — and it’s already paying off

Dan Yates is president and CEO of Brattleboro Savings & Loan.


Being part of an institution that has been part of this community for over 100 years has afforded us some perspective.

Our bank has weathered financial and humanitarian crises before, and we expect to continue to serve our communities for many years to come.

Some have asked me what is the best investment that they can make as we face multiple national and global challenges, and I am always hesitant to answer.

Right now, however, is the right time and place to share what has helped this bank, and this community, to survive and thrive through hard times.

The answer is: Invest in each other.

* * *

You don’t have to look hard to see the evidence of this investment being made, and paying off, right in our communities.

• The Retreat Farm has pivoted its operations to meet the nutritional needs of our neighbors by adding a food stand for free and reduced produce.

• Dozens of amazing people in our community have come together to make beautiful, free masks to keep us all safe and healthy.

• Our teachers and school administrators have put in untold hours of their summer to ensure that our children will be safe and able to learn effectively.

• Groundworks Collaborative has accomplished the herculean task of housing the most vulnerable among us since the early days of the outbreak here in Vermont.

• The town of Brattleboro has been wonderfully agile in allowing parklets for outside dining to help keep our downtown businesses thriving.

• In that same vein, the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance has coordinated with restaurants to provide free food to people in a way that is mutually beneficial to our restaurants and our citizens.

• Our health-care workers and service workers have been there, day in and day out, providing what we all need with courage and compassion.

• Community banks across the country, including my colleagues, have worked tirelessly to provide Paycheck Protection Program loans and other measures to reduce the harm done by the financial difficulties that face so many of our communities.

* * *

This is the Vermont we know and love. We cannot necessarily change the facts of the world that we are living in right now, but we can change our experience of it through kindness, goodness, and compassion.

We, all of us, are worthy of this most vital investment, and the dividends we’ll reap will last longer than these difficulties we face.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #579 (Wednesday, September 16, 2020). This story appeared on page C2.

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