This is a monthly series in which the Attorney General will feature a Vermonter doing exemplary work in their community. Have someone you think should be featured? Email AGO.CAP@vermont.gov.
Bonnie Evans, a native of St. Albans, has been quietly but tirelessly supporting her community in ways big and small. We are thrilled to honor her as Vermonter of the Month, and her friends and neighbors were eager to express their support. CAP spoke with several folks in Franklin County that described Bonnie as thoughtful and reliable, who warms the area – literally and figuratively – with her beautiful quilts!
Bonnie was born and raised in St. Albans. She has lived in Swanton since she and her husband Mike, her high school sweetheart, built a house there 40 years ago. They have two terrific daughters and seven wonderful grandchildren.
Bonnie graduated from college in New York with an Associates degree in dental hygiene. Before she retired six years ago, she worked at the same dental practice for nearly 43 years, taking care of three generations of Vermonters.
Bonnie primarily supports her community through quilting! She volunteers at Northwestern Medical Center (NMC), donates quilts to myriad local organizations, and is part of the Franklin County Quilters Guild. Read more about Bonnie below.
Which community effort makes you the proudest?
My biggest contribution personally and the one I am most proud of is the work I do making about 100 quilts per year for the Northwestern Medical Center (NMC). I make quilts for Palliative Care patients and their families, Breast Cancer Comfort Quilts for patients undergoing surgery, as well as quilts to be given out to little ones coming through the Emergency Department. You would only need to read a few of the thank you notes I get that would melt your heart…at least it sure does mine.
How did you get started with this effort?
It was ten years ago that I was approached by one of the nurses whose family member had won one of the quilts I had donated to a local charity raffle; and she asked if I had any interest in making quilts for the hospital. It blossomed from about 12 quilts the first year to 101 last year. The Palliative Care/Comfort Care program at NMC is phenomenal and I only play a small part with the quilts that the patients and their families receive. I am only a small part of the great things in this community and our hospital.
What other members of the community do you support with your quilts?
Several years ago I got a group of friends together, and we made Veterans Quilts for the local Veterans, and even sent some to the White River Junction VA Hospital. My husband is a Vietnam Veteran. I most recently made a quilt that my husband and I presented in a ceremony honoring William Busier from Essex, a WWII POW who just turned 100 years old. It has been my goal to get as many quilts to those veterans as I can.
I have over the years made quilts for the Fletcher Allen Children’s Clinic (now UVM), the Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation, our local veterinarian’s “Needy Pet Fund,” Chester’s Promise Horse Rescue, local schools for playground equipment, and just last week made a quilt for the St. Albans Rotary Expo fundraiser.
We heard a rumor that you do additional volunteer work!
Right now I volunteer at the Northwestern Medical Center one day a week, helping patients navigate our new wonderful surroundings. I am also the Hospitality Chair for the Hospital Auxiliary and coordinate our meetings throughout the year.
I have also been actively involved with the Franklin County Quilters Guild (a local non-profit) for 20 years. I think I was president 4 times and have held every office!! Our guild supports many local charities throughout the year and I am involved in pretty much all facets of that. As a group we provide quilts to Home Health, Laurie’s House, local disaster victims (to mention a few) and support our local food shelves. Quilters are a very generous group of people.
What advice do you have for others looking to impact their community?
I think if you don’t get involved in something in your community, you never know what you can achieve. I get such satisfaction from volunteering and making and donating these quilts, I can’t imagine not doing it. I often wonder how I had time to work!