To Castleton resident Judy Boss, there is nothing more important than giving to those in need. In fact, she’s so passionate about giving back and is involved in so many volunteering projects, she has a hard time keeping track of all of them.
So, when asked about her project for the troops that won her recognition from the New England Patriots, she had to take a minute to remember which volunteering project it was.
“I do a lot of volunteering,” she said as she finally recalled that it was the helmet liners for the troops she made that earned her some credit for the time she devotes to others.
She had read an article in the Rutland Herald one day about making liners for helmets of troops who are currently on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. She was angry that the government wasn’t providing the soldiers with these liners, and although she had no idea how to go about such a project, she was determined to figure it out.
So, she went online, found a pattern, and then received donations from American Legion Auxiliary, Lions Club and various organizations around town. Not only did she make sure these wool liners would be comfortable for the troops, but also they would keep the troops warm, and wouldn’t cling to their face in a fire.
Boss’s efforts did not go unnoticed. JoAnne Riley, of the Castleton Community Center, took notice and nominated Boss for the New England Patriots Community MVP Award, which honors “individuals who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities through volunteerism, according to the New England Patriots official Web site.
Sixteen New Englanders received the award, but Boss was the only Vermonter. She received not only a beautiful trophy, but also a $2,500 grant that was awarded to the Castleton Community Center and also two tickets to a Patriots game.
Boss could have kept the tickets for herself, but after talking with Castleton
State College Academic Dean Joe Mark, she offered the tickets to him and he decided the tickets should go to two students who devote themselves to volunteering.
“When I considered that Judy received the tickets because of her extraordinary service contributions, it only seemed fitting that the tickets be given to two students who had distinguished themselves by their service contributions,” Mark said.
Boss said she realized she could have kept the tickets, but not only is she partially handicapped, “my husband is a Steelers fan,” she joked. Boss said she would rather see the tickets go to the students.
“I think it’s a further indication of Judy’s generosity that she would want to offer these tickets to me so that two Castleton students, who perhaps wouldn’t normally be able to get to see a Patriot’s game, could have the exciting opportunity,” Mark said.
With help from service learning leaders Jan Rousse and Crispin White, Mark decided the tickets should go to Meg St. John and Alex Davis for organizing Alternative Spring Break last year.
The privilege to go to the Patriots game was the opportunity of a lifetime for the students.
“I was so excited! It felt like such an honor to represent Judy!” said St. John, who has never met Boss, but is hopeful they will meet one day through volunteering.
The game, which took place on Sept. 25, may have been a 34- 31 loss for the Patriots, but it was still a great experience for the students, who are also close friends.
“I had so much fun. I wore all my Pats gear. I even have Tom Brady earrings” said St. John. “This was my second time seeing them play, but my first at Gillette Stadium.”
When Boss learned that the two students selected were also devoted volunteers, she was beyond pleased.
“I just feel like I need to pay it forward, or pay it back,” Boss said. “There is just such a true need out there for so many different things. But my husband thinks I’m just a good samaritan.”