April 5 Ladd Scholarship fund-raiser a time for reflection and the future


On the cover: The Ladd family, clockwise from rear left, son Gabe, parents Heidi and Andy, and daughters Georgia, Lily, Abbie and Marguerite.
Laughter and a sense of fun. The desire for world experience. A love of learning. An allegiance to community. Five children who embody those values. A scholarship to offer students a chance to grasp the same. These are the legacies that Heidi and Andy Ladd have left to Chester.

Soon after Heidi Ladd’s unexpected death in February of this year, her name took its place beside that of her late husband in the  newly re-christened Andy and Heidi Ladd Scholarship Fund. The fund was created by the family and Chester Rotary to honor long-time Rotarian Andy Ladd, who died in 2008 at the age of 58. Heidi Ladd was 65.

Andy and Heidi Ladd. Photos courtesy of the Ladd family.

Andy and Heidi Ladd.
Photos courtesy of the Ladd family.

On the evening of Saturday April 5, the Rotary’s annual fund-raiser for the Andy and Heidi Ladd Scholarship Fund will be held at the Fullerton Inn on the Green in Chester. It will follow a 2 p.m. memorial service for Heidi Ladd at the Chester Congregational Church at Main and Church streets, which is open to the public. The five Ladd children, who all grew up in Chester, are expected to attend the fund-raiser: Gabe, 33, in from Philadelphia; Lily, 31, making her way from Washington, D.C.; Marguerite, 28, and Abbie, 26, coming in from Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Georgia, 21,  heading home from Boston, Mass.

The scholarship is dedicated to helping Green Mountain Union High students meet their college goals, something that Andy Ladd never had the chance to do. But he and Heidi, who earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, remained life-long learners and instilled that same love of learning in their children. All five graduated from college, each with a bachelor’s and three with masters. Marguerite Ladd recalls that even vacations were a time for learning about the various places, people and cultures they would visit.

The Ladds are a family apart, say those who are close to them. Former GMUHS Principal Carol Gilbert, a Rotary member, says the Ladds were the go-to family when there was a need, “whether another family needed food, an exchange student needed a place to stay … anything at all.” Gilbert and her husband Townsend watched the Ladd children grow up, and continue to stay close to them today.

Heidi with children

Heidi Ladd, in blue, with her children, clockwise from rear, Georgia, Abbie, Marguerite, Gabe and Lily.

Malcolm Summers, the Rotary’s past president, said the Ladd children “have always participated in the auctions every year.”  And before that, according to Marguerite Ladd, when the kids were younger, their father volunteered them to help out at as many Rotary events as he could.

Whether it was working toward the expansion of the Whiting Library, building the play structure at Chester-Andover Elementary School, aiding the Booster Club, or  volunteering with the Recreation Department, Heidi and Andy found ways to help their community.

And that sense of service to others extended to Rotary, where Andy Ladd was a member and Heidi Ladd served on the club’s scholarship committee, helping to give out the annual awards, even though she was not a Rotarian.

Andy Ladd “would be amazed at how these helping hands still give,” Marguerite Ladd said of the efforts to raise money for the scholarship fund. Many times, “people want to help, they just don’t know how. This is a great way for people to help.”

This year’s fundraiser will begin at 6 p.m. with a vertical dinner, live and silent auctions, a raffle of gift baskets and live music from pianist Matt Meserve. Tickets are $20 and can be obtained from Malcolm Summers at 802-875-5886. The Rotary also continues to accept donations for the auction. Gift certificates to restaurants, donations of a weekend trip to your vacation cottage and other items are all welcomed.

— Cynthia Prairie




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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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