As we all know, small towns depend greatly on the volunteer efforts of residents and other people who love the town they call home. Wilmington is losing Patti and Jim Burke who are currently in the process of moving to the Asheville, NC, area. They will be greatly missed for all of the quietly generous things they did here in the valley.
Jim was on the Wilmington Selectboard for six years and was always the first to lend a hand to projects large and small. Thanks to him the town garage building project was accomplished on time and under budget. Jim was on-site daily to check on progress and offering help as needed. Since 2008 Jim has worked with the Wilmington Cemetery Commission as their sexton to make sure that accurate maps and records exist and that proper attention is paid to the cemeteries and to burials.
Patti, a longtime member of the Brattleboro School of Dance, decided that she would offer weekly Zumba lessons at no cost, because “it’s too much trouble to charge for them.” How generous of her to encourage so many people who benefited from her year-long class.
When the flooding from Irene happened, Patti and Jim were among the most active volunteers, starting with Jim moving vital town records upstairs at Town Hall, continuing to Patti organizing the phone and message system at the emergency shelter and ending with both of them staying at the shelter to do what was needed for two long weeks. Jim was tireless during the post-flood move of the town offices to Shaw’s Plaza and his help with various flood-proofing and renovation projects was invaluable.
And this isn’t all! Jim served as the high school baseball team assistant and then coach for several seasons. Both Patti and Jim helped their church in many ways. I’m sure I’m omitting other kind and charitable acts that they did during their 16 years here.
Their new North Carolina town is lucky to gain them and I’m sorry we are losing them.