AIDS Walk honors longtime supporter

AIDS Walk honors longtime supporter

Lynn Martin lauded for 30 years as an employee, volunteer

BRATTLEBORO — Lynn Martin remembers when, seeking a job after raising two sons and a daughter nearly three decades ago, she arrived at the state Department of Employment and Training with a question.

“I had a bachelor of arts in education and a master's in creative writing,” she recalls. “What kind of training could they give me?”

Enough to report that the government considered her a displaced housewife entitled to a stipend to work at a participating employer for six months.

“Do you have anywhere in mind?” she remembers a case worker asking. “Someone who will hire you?”

Enter the AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, which honored the now 83-year-old West Brattleboro retiree Saturday for 30 years of service as a former staffer and ongoing volunteer.

Martin - a poet and painter as well as a mother and grandmother - created the AIDS Project's library, served as a one-on-one client buddy, and established the organization's syringe exchange program, whose recent revival has found itself busier than ever because of the current opioid epidemic.

“The AIDS Project is always ahead of things,” Martin told supporters gathered at the Brattleboro-based nonprofit's 32nd annual Walk for Life. “I give them credit for honoring me while I'm still here.”

Shirley Squires: $375,000 since 1993

Guilford great-great-grandmother Shirley Squires topped the annual fundraiser's tally by singlehandedly collecting $22,000, bringing the octogenarian's lifetime total since her first walk in 1993 to nearly $375,000.

Squires, who collects money in memory of her son, the late Rep. Ronald Squires, D-Guilford, wasn't the only family member thinking of him: Her daughters, Debbie and Diana, came up with an additional $622.

Howie Peterson, a former AIDS Project staffer and longtime supporter, was the event's perennial yet persistent second-place finisher with $2,000.

Saturday's event at the Main Street River Garden featured the local singing group The Harmony Lot.

Collectively, it raised $30,000 for the AIDS Project, which provides a host of services to 85 clients living with HIV as well as prevention and education programs to curb its spread in Windham, Bennington, and southern Windsor counties.

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