by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine Tony Pomerleau may be slowed by a wheelchair, but his wit is quick, and frequently targeted toward his son. "Ernie and I are very close, understandably, because he always needs money." But his dad keeps giving it away. Businessman and philanthropist Tony Pomerleau turned 100 Thursday and was at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center Friday afternoon with Governor Scott, Mayor Miro Weinberger, friends and family to be feted for his birthday and his commitment of $1 million to the Sailing Center.
The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (CSC), a non profit with a mission to provide community access to Lake Champlain, dedicated the new Pomerleau Community Waterfront Campus to its namesake, Tony Pomerleau. Last fall, through the Pomerleau Family Foundation, Pomerleau gifted $1 million to the CSC’s Love Your Lake Capital Campaign.
Right, Governor Scott with Tony Pomerleau. Bottom, Mayor Weinberger with Tony Pomerleau. VBM photos.
“Today we celebrate a new era in the Community Sailing Center’s history and one of the men who helped make it possible - Tony Pomerleau,” said Owen Milne, Executive Director of the Community Sailing Center. “Mr Pomerleau has done so much for this community and we are grateful to him for his continued support for the Community Sailing Center. In honor of his 100th birthday we are proud to dedicate the Pomerleau Community Waterfront Campus to him today. His gift will make a difference for thousands of Vermonters, allowing them access to beautiful Lake Champlain.”
“I’m looking ahead to the next century for all Vermonters,” said Tony Pomerleau. “Lake Champlain is an inspiring part of our lives. The Pomerleau family aims to ensure that all Vermonters enjoy this lake we love. Congratulations to the Sailing Center for their vision and perseverance to build this Center for the community."
Additionally, the Pomerleau family is commemorating the building in the memory of Ann Marie and Ellen Pomerleau who loved and cherished the lake as many Vermonters do.
Board Chair Karen Marshall said "Mr P" had lived his life by three values - tenacity, to create good, and to give back - which also guide the Sailing Center's mission.
Pomerleau said he "worked my head off" when he was young to make something of himself.
"I'm fortunate and very lucky and I came from a comfortable home, so I wanted to give back to kids who didn't."
While most of the adults at the celebration eschewed the sheet cake with, it has to be said, inch-thick white frosting, Tony didn't hold back and enjoyed a large piece in front of the new building that bears the Pomerleau name.
The new Sailing Center facility, along the Burlington bikepath and close by the skatepark, is largely unfinished.
The CSC has currently raised $5.1 million of the $5.75 million campaign and encourages others who are interested in learning more about the campaign and how to get involved to visit www.loveyourlake.org.
About Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center : A community-based non-profit organization, Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center encourages and celebrates the responsible use and long-term stewardship of Lake Champlain by providing the community with educational and recreational access to Lake Champlain. The Community Sailing Center (CSC) is a vital community resource on the Burlington Waterfront that serves over 6,000 people each year through award winning programs, which use human powered watercraft as a medium to instill a sense of ownership in one of Vermont’s most important natural resources. A cornerstone of the Burlington community for over 20 years, the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center inspires lake stewardship, provides universal access to the lake and is helping preserve the beauty of Lake Champlain for future generations. To learn more about the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, please visit: www.CommunitySailingCenter.org .
Burlington, VT - September 29, 2017 – Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, www.CommunitySailingCenter.org