In the Preservation world, we celebrate successful fundraising projects, grand rehabilitation projects, turn-around communities, and those public figures whose hard work and support make it all happen. But there are others preservationists that we rarely notice. These are the ones who quietly show up and take care. These are the ones who do the touch-up paint and repair leaky toilets. They make sure the roof is sound after a windy ice storm. They change those hard-to-reach light bulbs and fix heaters that aren’t working on the coldest day of the year. These unsung maintenance heroes are the day-to-day keepers of our historic building stock.
John “Jack” Leonard has been with Downstreet Housing & Community Development since 2006. During his tenure, Jack has thoughtfully and respectfully cared for the maintenance and residents of the beautiful and historical Green Mountain Seminary building in Waterbury Center, Vermont.
Built in 1869 as a Free Will Baptist coeducational school, the Green Mountain Seminary Building was Rehabilitated in the early 2000s an apartment building owned by Downstreet. With its rich history and lore, it’s not a surprise that this building would become a favorite of those charged with its stewardship.
Jack considers this building Downstreet’s crown jewel. At every opportunity, he shows agency guests its charm. In the attic, names, dates and quotes from the late 1800’s are scrawled on the walls and woodwork, reminiscent of a high school yearbook. Jack’s pride in the building is reflected in both the meticulous care he takes of the physical structure as well as his strong connection to the residents.
Jack’s warmth for the residents is clearly reciprocated; they often invite him into their homes to chat, have coffee, or just to share in their lives. He is thought of by some residents as a part of their extended family.
Preservation of Vermont’s historic buildings takes more than a good idea and a lot of money: every day, it takes time, energy, care and love. For 18 years of excellent stewardship at the Green Mountain Seminary, we honor Maintenance Technician Jack Leonard.
Preservation Award to Jack Leonard of Downstreet Housing & Development for the stewardship of Green Mountain Seminary in Waterbury Center, VT.