September is National Preparedness Month

By Brad Salzmann, PA-C

Brad Salzmann

Brad Salzmann, PA-C

This September marks the 10th annual National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and endorsed by the president of the United States, the month urges all Americans to recognize the importance of preparedness and working together to enhance national security, resilience and readiness.

All disasters are first and foremost local, and all emergency response starts locally. Individuals, families, communities, and businesses that are even somewhat prepared fare far better than those who are not prepared. While it’s impractical to prepare for all possible scenarios, every bit of preplanning and preparedness does make a difference. Outside help is not always immediately available. Think back to past emergency events you were involved in, or talk to someone who has been affected; what were some of the things you wished you had thought of and prepared for ahead of time?

The basic mantra is: Be informed, make a plan, build a kit, and get involved.

Being informed means staying updated on local situations and information and knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency. All types of media, including social media sites, are used now for news, information, and directions. VT 211 (Get connected, Get answers) is a free, confidential, 24/7, reference to access hundreds of community resources, sponsored by the Vermont United Way (www.vermont211.org); it is not for emergencies (911), nor is it directory assistance (411). VT 511 (www.511vt.com) is free reference sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Transportation with updated road information.

Making a plan starts with where to meet; how to communicate with loved ones; evacuation and shelter-in-place options; plans for pets and livestock; plans for infants, elderly and those with special needs; obtaining important medications; and retrieval of important documents. Businesses and communities should also plan for identifying and preparing for alternate ways to continue crucial operations, and recovery. Plans really should be tested, updated, and adjusted periodically. September is a great time to do this!

Kits are generally divided into three categories: Personal “go” kits are in a backpack or duffle that can be easily grabbed and carried. They should have sufficient supplies for you to survive for 24 hours. Mobile kits are in a larger container that can be put or kept in a vehicle. Supplies should be adequate for three days of survival for you and your family. Home kits contain enough supplies and equipment needed in event of an extended shelter-in-place situation.

Getting involved means working with family, friends, community or larger organizations in planning for, preparing for, responding to, and mitigating for emergency events. There are a variety of organizations and groups that are always looking for volunteers.

You may have heard of the survival rule of threes: three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and three weeks without food. My rule of threes has to do with redundancy. One should strive for three ways to obtain water, shelter, food, and light, as well as three methods of communication, three routes of evacuation, three alternate places to go, and methods to get there, and so on.

There is an abundance of good information available on emergency preparedness. For those of you with Internet access, there are excellent sources from FEMA (www.ready.gov), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness or http://bt.cdc.gov/planning), the Red Cross (http://redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family, or http://redcross.org/prepare/nationalpreparednessmonth), the Vermont Department of Public Safety, and many others. The Vermont Department of Emergency Management has printed an excellent Family Emergency Preparedness Workbook, which is available online at http://vem.vermont.gov, as well as by calling 1-800-347-0488 or writing to 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05671-2101. There are even smart phone apps now available with vital emergency preparedness information. If this all seems overwhelming, check out Do1Thing, at http://do1thing.com. This breaks down preparedness into monthly doable and affordable projects.

Finally, watch out for scams and fraud. Unfortunately, there are a few individuals who prey on the misfortunes of others. Never give out your account numbers or Social Security number, or pay in advance for anything unless you are 100 percent sure it is safe.

Please, take this opportunity to enhance your preparedness for emergencies, even if it’s just to make a few lists and jot down a few ideas.

Brad Salzmann is an orthopedics physician assistant at Gifford in Randolph. He also has a master’s degree in disaster medicine and management, and serves as part of the national Disaster Medical Assistance Team based in Worcester, Mass.

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Jesse Hahn Joins Gifford

Dr. Jesse Hahn

Dr. Jesse Hahn

Vermont native Dr. Jesse Hahn has joined the orthopedic surgery team at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, providing surgical and non-surgical care for injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

A native of Essex, Dr. Hahn is a graduate of Essex High School and the University of Richmond in Virginia. He went on to earn his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, where he also completed his residency and served on the faculty as a clinical instructor.

Dr. Hahn has now joined Gifford full-time, is staying in Randolph and is relishing the opportunity to provide local care.

“I am now a neighbor,” Dr. Hahn says. “That’s what I enjoy, taking care of neighbors.”
The ability to help people is what drew Dr. Hahn to medicine.

He offers a friendly, comforting, patient-focused approach.

Seeing a doctor shouldn’t be nerve-wracking, he notes, likening his job to that of a mechanic. He is providing a service. But the service he provides goes beyond that of technician. He is also caring for an individual, and partnering with that individual to meet his or her unique goals.

Sometimes meeting those goals takes surgery. Sometimes more conservative approaches, such as physical therapy and time, work best.

“I am eager to help in any way I can,” says this modest caregiver with up-to-date training.

Dr. Hahn provides care for all types of bone, joint and tendon injuries. Early in his medical education, he contemplated a career in pediatrics. Orthopedic care for children and adolescents consequently remains a special interest of Dr. Hahn’s along with trauma, fractures and upper extremity ailments.

Dr. Hahn is a member of the Orthopedic Trauma Association and AOTrauma, an international community of trauma and orthopedic surgeons, researchers and operating room personnel. In the spring, he begins a trauma fellowship, first in Germany and then in California.

Dr. Hahn is accepting new patients at Gifford’s orthopedics practice in Randolph. Call Gifford’s central scheduling office at (802) 728-2777.

Dr. Hahn works with orthopedics physician assistant Brad Salzmann in Randolph.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephanie Landvater works out of Gifford’s Berlin practice, the Gifford Health Center at Berlin, and provides surgery in Randolph.

In his free time, Dr. Hahn enjoys the outdoors, including hiking and skiing, as well as auto repair.

Living Well with Bipolar Disorder

Gifford offering bipolar education and recovery group

bipolar disorderRANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center mental health practitioner Cory Gould will lead a bipolar psychoeducation and recovery group called “Living Well with Bipolar Disorder” Sept. 16 through Nov. 18.

The group will be held Mondays over 10 weeks from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital Conference Center. It will offer group support, education, coping skills, help developing a support system and self-understanding.

Bipolar disorder is a neurobiological brain illness characterized by extremes of mood, anxiety, thought and behavior. Manic-depression is an older term for bipolar disorder and refers to the classic episodes of manic highs and depressive lows.

The latest research on bipolar disorder emphasizes it as a cycling illness. Gould points to a Web site by author and bipolar patient John McManamy dedicated to the disorder. “What we call bipolar is an enormously complex illness … . Simply knowing that we have ups and downs is not sufficient. What we need to know is how these ups and downs relate, what is driving them and what else is interacting with the dynamic,” McManamy writes.

Bipolar disorder is thought to affect 2-3 percent of the American population, although some expert researchers think the figure is closer to 5 percent. Equal numbers of men and women are affected.

Typically, the first episode occurs in the teens or early 20s. But bipolar disorder can also begin in childhood. Fortunately, kids respond to treatment and can lead normal lives – just like adults with the illness – when it is managed optimally, Gould notes.

“Knowledge is power. Learning everything you can is essential to recovery,” Gould says. “We now have many more tools to help people with bipolar disorder.”

There is a fee to attend. Insurance is accepted. Sign-up by calling Gould at 728-7100, ext. 7. A brief screening interview is required for all participants.

The Gifford Conference Center is on the first floor of the medical center. From patient parking, take the stairs under the green awning. For handicapped accessibility, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor and follow signs to the Conference Center. The group meets in the Markle Room.

For the Love of Patients, Families, and the Community – Dr. Lou DiNicola

Dr. Lou DiNicolaBorn in New Jersey, Dr. Lou DiNicola moved to Randolph in June of 1976 to become a local pediatrician. Passing up job offers in much larger areas then and since, he chose to stay in Randolph because he’s been able to able to practice medicine as he always envisioned. He has been able to affect change on a state level; create unique, trend-setting models of health care; and demonstrate his love of the community through his work.

Married to his wife Joann for 43 years, the couple has two grown children, two grandchildren, and a third on the way. Dr. DiNicola is an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying hiking, snowshoeing, walking, and gardening. He’s also a photographer and works with his artist wife, framing her paintings. 

Dr. DiNicola has spent his entire career in Randolph while also working in Rochester from 1977-1992 with internal medicine physicians Drs. Mark Jewett and Milt Fowler. 

Below is his story as told in his own words, as featured in our 2012 Annual Report.

Thirty-six years ago I was fresh out of residency and looking for job opportunities when I saw an ad in a magazine for a pediatrician in rural Vermont. Vermont was where I wanted to work, so I sent in my curriculum vitae, the medical equivalent of a resume, but never heard a word back. I called but the response was less than enthusiastic. I was basically told “thanks, but no thanks.”

I had three job offers in Pittsburgh and was literally sitting down to take a job at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where I’d just completed my internship and residency when my pager went off. It was Gifford President Phil Levesque’s secretary, wondering if I could come up in a couple of weeks for an interview. “I’ll come this weekend, or I’m not coming at all” was my response. The secretary covered the phone, relaying my message to Phil. “Hell, let him come” was his reply.

Needless to say, I came, and stayed.

More than three decades later I hope I have made a positive impact on the community and my patients, and know they have made a remarkable impact on me – teaching me how to communicate care, respect, and love.

It’s amazing how much you can love your patients. Also amazing is the window being a pediatrician gives you to see the love between a parent and a child. No more clearly is that demonstrated than in the unconditional love between a parent and a special needs child. More than once, parents of special needs children have amazed me and inspired me, as have the children themselves. I’ve seen parents of special needs children go on to adopt more children with special needs. Those are the moments that touch you most; those, and loss.

Dr. Lou DiNicola

Dr. DiNicola thumb wrestles with patient Troy Daniels.

There is no greater loss than the loss of a child. Throughout my career, there have been car accidents, disease, malignancies, and newborn deaths. I think of two patients I lost to cancer, both of whom I visited at their bedsides at home as they were dying. As I reflect on my career, I think of them not with tears but fondness because of the relationships I have had with their families.

At Gifford, we are small enough to have that closeness with our patients and courageous enough to get up the next day and reflect on what we did or didn’t do, what we could have done differently, and how we can improve care. This ability to affect change is one of the things that has kept me practicing – happily – in this community and state for so many years.

One of the biggest changes Gifford has been able to enact in health care is around childbirth. When I first came to Gifford, I kept hearing about this guy Thurmond Knight, a local physician who was delivering babies in people’s homes. I met Thurmond at a Medical Staff meeting. He was knitting. I asked him what it would take for him to deliver babies at the hospital. He answered “a Birthing Center”. We opened the Birthing Center (the first in the state of Vermont) 35 years ago in 1977.

I’ve also been fortunate to be part of and help form organizations that were decades ahead of their time, in many ways laying the foundation for today’s medical home and Vermont Blueprint for Health models as well as utilizing computers for communication at the advent of the computer revolution. Additionally, Vermont has provided me with the opportunity to work on important legislation, such as child abuse laws, outlawing corporal punishment in schools, mandatory kindergarten, and the recent immunization law. These opportunities along with the privilege of making a difference in kids’ and families’ lives keep me going.

One of the things I find incredibly rewarding is living and working in the same town. I don’t mind if I run into someone downtown and they ask me a question. And I feel it’s so important that we recognize and talk to kids. One way I have been able to successfully converse and care for kids for so long is through humor. I try to infuse that in my appointments with children and often am treated – sometimes at unexpected moments – to humor in return.

One such humorous moment came from a 5-year-old. I try to end all my appointments by asking if patients have any questions for me. This 5-year-old’s question: “Why do frogs jump so high?” Should I ever write a book, I think this will be the title.

~ Lou DiNicola, M.D.
Gifford pediatrician

Dr. Lou DiNicola

Above left – Dr. DiNicola in 1979. Above right – Dr. DiNicola with Kim Daniels of Berlin and her adopted son Troy. Troy along with his siblings, Maggie, Ben, and Alex, were patients of Dr. DiNicola’s for years. Dr. DiNicola credits Kim, who had a special needs child and then adopted two more, with showing him the true meaning of love and parenting. Troy credits Dr. DiNicola with seeing him as a person.

Last Mile Ride Raises Record $56,000 for Patients at End of Life

Last Mile Ride

The Stockwell family is ready to ride Saturday at Gifford Medical Center. (Provided: Janet Miller)

RANDOLPH – Nearly 300 motorcyclists, cyclists and runners/walkers participated in Gifford Medical Center’s eighth annual Last Mile Ride on Saturday, raising a record $56,000 for end-of-life care.

Beneath sunny skies, the day juxtaposed heart-wrenching, yet inspiring, stories of loss with a celebration featuring the high tempo sounds of “Jeanne and The Hi-Tops,” food, fun and prize awards.

Earning the top prize for his fund-raising efforts was Reg Mongeur of Randolph, who collected $3,458 from generous friends, family and strangers alike. A much-anticipated Harley/$5,000 cash raffle was won by Carol Bushey of Brookfield. A quilt made by Gifford nursing staff and a patient went to Martha Howe of Randolph.

Last Mile Ride

Runners sprint through the start line of the 5K Fun Run as part of the Last Mile Ride. (Provided: Tammy Hooker)

Palliative care physicians Dr. Cristine Maloney and Dr. Jonna Goulding along with rider/founder and Gifford nurse Lynda McDermott all addressed the crowds, offering thanks for riders’ efforts to make the hospital’s dream of providing alternative therapies, special wishes and more for free for patients in the last mile of life.

“Everyone has arrived here today for unique personal reasons to unite in a larger, common cause. Many are motivated to be here to honor the loss of a loved one and to ensure that future families shepherding someone to the end of life are granted gifts or services … ,” Gifford Director of Development Ashley Lincoln said.

Last Mile Ride

Cyclists leave Gifford Medical Center Saturday for the Last Mile Ride. (Provided: Janet Miller)

“The enthusiasm of this crowd and the building excitement of riders garners more and more sponsors, gives me and the staff at Gifford … not only financial reserves but emotional reserves to walk alongside our friends and neighbors on some of their longest days,” Lincoln continued.

Shelly Pearce knows how long those days can be. Her husband Kevin died in the Garden Room on July 4. On Saturday, Shelly Pearce offered an emotional, personal thanks to riders.

“The Last Mile Ride funds helped us as a family in numerous ways,” said Pearce, describing massages for pain management, meals for the family, a gas card and a special family celebration. “So whether this is your first or your eighth time participating in the Last Mile Ride, I want you all to know what a difference you making in a patient and their family’s life. Keep participating or volunteering even if it seems like a small thing, because it is very important and appreciated.”

Last Mile Ride

Led by Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak, motorcyclists return to Gifford during the Last Mile Ride held Saturday in support of end-of-life care. (Provided: Janet Miller)

The Last Mile Ride began in 2006 when McDermott brought the idea forward to help provide comfort measures for people in life’s last mile. The first ride was held in 2006, and since its number of participants, funds raised and impact have all grown.

The event now includes a 5K and cycle ride in addition to the popular motorcycle ride. And this year’s event featured a Friday night “Kick-Off Rally” of dinner and dancing at the Three Stallion Inn with more than 80 community members and Last Mile participants in attendance.

The Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce made the event possible.

Last Mile Ride

Cyclists and motorcyclists line up for the post-ride BBQ. (Provided: Janet Miller)

The Last Mile Ride was made possible by a huge group of volunteers, who were mostly Gifford employees who gave up their Saturday to support the cause, as well as volunteers from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak, the Green Mountain Bike Patrol, police support in multiple towns, and Terry Heath and Erin Bianchi of Massage Professionals of Randolph.

Significant community involvement came in the forms of people lining the event routes to show support and many, many sponsors. Among this year’s sponsors were the Frankenburg Agency Inc., Froggy 100.9, Lucky’s Trailer Sales, Northfield Savings Bank, Wilkins Harley-Davidson, Booth Brothers Dairy, Connor Contracting, E-Management Associates, Mascoma Savings Bank, Aubuchon Hardware, Barry T. Chouinard Inc., Dimmik Wastewater Service, Gillespie Fuels and Propane, Infinitt North America, K&R Rentals and Storage, Kleen Inc., Magee Office Products, MetLife, Rain or Shine Tent and Events Company, Schiring Radiographic Imaging, Superior Development and many others.

Next year’s Last Mile Ride will be Aug. 16, or the third Saturday in August.

Last Mile Ride

Shelly Pearce, right, offers her heartfelt thanks to Last Mile riders as her daughter, Samantha Blakeney, provides her comfort. Pearce’s husband, who was Blakeney’s stepfather, died just last month in the Garden Room at Gifford. The ride raises money for patients like Kevin and families like the Pearces. (Provided: Tammy Hooker)

Clocks and Pecan Pie – Dr. Milt Fowler

Dr. Milt FowlerA Randolph resident, Dr. Milt Fowler had been an internal medicine physician in the region for 36 years. Originally from Indianapolis, Dr. Fowler helped create the Rochester Health Center. He practiced there and in Randolph for 29 years. In 2005, he transitioned to practicing only at Gifford internal medicine in Randolph.

Married with two sons and two grandchildren, Dr. Fowler enjoys traveling and woodworking. It is his relationships with patients that have kept him serving the community where he lives and works for more than three decades.

Below is his story as told in his own words, as featured in our 2012 Annual Report.

“Nearing the end of my medical training and beginning the search for practice opportunities brought my attention to a medical journal ad placed by Phil Levesque, then CEO of Gifford. During the recruitment process, Phil and his wife Sandy’s hospitality and vision for Gifford were all the convincing I needed. That was more than 36 years ago, and we (my family along with the Jewetts and DiNicolas, who all came at the same time) are still here. None of us could have anticipated being here this long, or enjoying the richness of the Gifford family, or the beauty and talent of the people of central Vermont as much as we have.

Dr. Milt Fowler

At top – a 1979 portrait of Dr. Fowler. Bottom – Dr. Fowler with a young patient, also from 1979.

During those years, we have had the rare privilege of being part of the joy and sometimes tragedy of so many lives. All of our lives are connected in some way in this community, and the honor of caring for your neighbors and friends is difficult to fully articulate. It is a privilege. An office visit isn’t just caring for an illness in a stranger. In a small town, you are caring for someone whose family you know and about whose life history you are familiar.

Donald Dustin of Braintree is just one example. A furniture maker, he had donated a beautiful Shaker clock to a local church auction. The craftsmanship was notable and at the end of his next office appointment, I asked him if he would mentor me on woodworking. “Of course I would. When do we start?” was his reply. Then followed months of his tutoring, nudging, and pushing. It was during this time that he developed terminal cancer. We kept working together in his shop, and he often called asking, “Where the heck are you? We’ve got work to do.” We continued our clock project with Donald sitting in his wheelchair, barking orders, cigar smoke swirling around his head. The clock’s face was painted by Bill Olivet, another talented patient. “Our clock” is at my home in my study.

Unforgettable was also Rochester summer resident and professional violist 90-year-old Marguerite Schenkman who fell and sustained a large laceration to her scalp just before a concert at the Park House. At the Rochester clinic, she refused to be sutured before the concert. We wrapped her head in a gauze turban to control the bleeding, attended her concert, then repaired the wound after the Beethoven pieces were complete.

Or how could one forget 90-year-old Priscilla Carpenter walking to her appointment the afternoon of the famous Valentine’s Day snowstorm? She climbed over snow banks to get to her visit with a warm pecan pie in hand, which she slyly placed on my office desk.

It is experiences like these that make the daily stress of practicing so rich. It is what drew us and has kept us here. What a privilege.”

~ Milt Fowler, M.D.
Gifford Internal Medicine Physician

Dr. Mitt Fowler

Above left – Dr. Fowler works in his shop crafting clocks, a skill he learned from patient Donald Dustin. Above right – Patient Priscilla Carpenter greets Dr. Fowler with a pecan pie, which they then share, toasting with a glass of milk.

 

Fighting Disease Through “Compassion” – Dr. Ken Borie

Dr. Ken BorieOriginally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Ken Borie has been a family physician in Randolph since 1980. Married with two grown sons and a teenage daughter, Dr. Borie lives a few doors down the street from Gifford, walking to work – even on his day off. His wife, Mary, is a registered nurse in Gifford’s Birthing Center.

In his free time, Dr. Borie is an oil and watercolor portrait painter and enjoys gardening, reading, jogging, whale and bird watching, and golfing. He studies history and medical history, teaches Civil War medicine to schoolchildren, and often has Dartmouth Medical School students with him as he shares his passion for family medicine and his compassion for patients.

Below is his story as told in his own words, as featured in our 2012 Annual Report.

“My journey to Randolph began when I was just 8 years old. I grew up in a neighborhood surrounded by doctors. I saw them as mentors and role models, and knew – even then – that is what I wanted to do with my life.

After acceptance to medical school, I spent my first year in awe of the anatomy of the human body. The summer after my freshman year, I hiked the Long Trail end to end and then went to Waterville, Maine for a six-week medical externship. That summer showed me the beauty of Vermont and where I wanted to practice. It also showed me my future specialty: family medicine, as I worked with an amazing family doctor who “did it all”.

Dr. Ken Borie

The two sides of Dr. Borie – top, an early ’90s portrait shows the dedicated physician hard at work and bottom, Dr. Borie in 1989 sharing a smile.

I came to Randolph in July of 1980, right out of my family medicine residency. Peter  Frankenburg was my real estate broker and sold me the house I live in today. One of his selling pitches included “…and the Fourth of July parade goes right past the house.” Dr. Ron Gadway and Dr. Ed Armstrong initially hired me at Medical Associates, but very soon I was able to open my own practice as Phil Levesque, the CEO at Gifford at the time, was looking for a family doctor in Randolph. I worked as an independent and solo practitioner in Randolph until Gifford officially hired me in 1994.

Thirty-two years of practice later, I can tell you first-hand that being a physician is a blessing. I feel honored to have patients put their trust and faith in me. There is no greater honor than to have a young woman ask me to take care of her newborn baby or after caring for an elderly woman for 25 years, sitting with her and her family as she dies in Gifford’s Garden Room.

I’m not alone in this work. Exceptional physicians, like Drs. Milt Fowler, Mark and Elizabeth Jewett, Lou DiNicola, Terry Cantlin, Mark Seymour, Bill Minsinger, and Dennis Henzig, along with many others on Gifford’s staff, have worked at my side for decades. Together we have helped keep the people of central Vermont healthy.

We’ve incorporated many strategies to achieve that goal, but there is a saying on a statue at Gifford that says it best. The statue is of two birds and is crafted by the talented Jim Sardonis. It reads: “Science has provided many tools for fighting disease, but the oldest tool, compassion, is still the most important.” These words help guide me through each day.”

~ Ken Borie, D.O.
Gifford family physician

Dr. Ken Borie

Above left: an undated portrait of Dr. Borie. Above right: Dr. Borie chats with Joe and Lois Mulderig of Randolph. Joe and Lois, ages 88 and 85 respectively, have been married for 65 years and have been patients of Dr. Borie’s since moving to Vermont about 20 years ago.

Motorcycle Ride Honors Kevin Pearce, Others in Life’s Last Mile

On Saturday, Aug. 17, hundreds of motorcyclists, cyclists, and runners/walkers will take to the streets of the Randolph area for the Last Mile Ride. The ride raises money for special services for Gifford Medical Center patients in advanced illness and at the end of life.

This is one patient’s story.

Kevin Pearce

Kevin Pearce in 1976 at age 16. (Photo provided)

A native of Waitsfield, Kevin Pearce was born in Vermont in 1960. He moved to Massachusetts with his family when he was just 3. He grew up in Charlemont and Ashfield, Mass., dropping out of high school to work on a potato farm during a time when dyslexia was less understood and Kevin found himself labeled as “dumb” for his inability to read.

He went on to run heavy equipment, assembling and disassembling ski area chair lifts in Massachusetts, until tragedy brought him back to Vermont.

Kevin had been married, divorced, was engaged, and moving in with his fiancée when she was killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver on her way to bring her final carload of belongings to what was to be their shared home.

Immediately following the funeral, Kevin packed a bag and took a bus to his native Vermont. Continue reading

Watercolors by Greg Crawford Now in Gifford Gallery

watercolor paintingDetailed and gorgeous watercolors by Stockbridge’s Greg Crawford fill the walls of the Gifford Gallery now until Sept. 25.

Crawford is a self-taught artist who has been a graphics professional for nearly fifty years. His father was an artist too, and Crawford was determined to be one from the time he could hold a pencil.

While still a junior in high school, he sold a cartoon about the Beatles to the Saturday Evening Post. The issue appeared the week the group appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” in February of 1964. As a result, Crawford was a celebrity of sorts for a while, and then went back to being the “weird kid” who drew pictures in algebra class, he says.

A rich and varied career as an illustrator and graphic designer that started right out of high school provided him with the opportunity to work in nearly every medium there is, but his first love has always been watercolor.

“Watercolor can be an unforgiving medium; you cannot cover up a mistake as easily as oils or acrylics might permit,” Crawford says. “Ah, but the ‘happy accidents’ one occasionally encounters can be gratifying, indeed.

“Juxtaposing detailed subjects with loose, washy backgrounds can yield dramatic results. The subtle transitions that can be achieved when blending colors are unique to watercolor.”

Crawford has illustrated several books and covers and has a few children’s books to his credit, some of which he wrote as well. He is currently illustrating “The Flying Mouse,” which will be followed by a book he wrote and illustrated called “Hill Farm.”

When illustrating a book, Crawford researches his subjects thoroughly and takes many reference photos so light, shadow, fabric and reflections are accurately rendered.

Crawford has also enjoyed taking part in community theater for more than two decades, and has portrayed many well-known characters in musical theater. He designed and helped to build sets for many productions. For the past six years, he has designed and built the sets for Chandler Center for the Arts children’s theater camp productions that are presented over the Fourth of July weekend every year.

Not content to simply paint, illustrate, design, and act, Greg also writes the occasional theater review for The Herald of Randolph. He wrote a short play called “Finding Earl” and well over a hundred articles for The Mountain Times of Killington.

Crawford was not born in Vermont, but he says he got here as fast as he could, sometime back in the 1970s.

See his free show in the Gifford Gallery, located just left of the main lobby of the medical center at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. To learn more about the Gallery, call (802) 728-2324.