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Remembering John Burchard

John Burchard: Congressional Record

April 8, 2003

Tribute to John and Sara Burchard by Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT)

Mr. President, today I wish to recognize Drs. John and Sara Burchard of Burlington, VT as this year's joint recipients of the Kids on the Block--Vermont "Puppets' Choice Award." This award is conferred annually by Kids on the Block--Vermont, a theatrical troupe, part of a national organization, which performs with puppets to deliver messages of personal safety, diversity, and acceptance of disabilities. As honorees, John and Sara are acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to children and families statewide.

Since their arrival in Vermont in 1970, John and Sara, both long-time professors of psychology at the University of Vermont, have worked tirelessly to improve children's care and families' strength. Describing their contributions as "outstanding" is an understatement. Professionally and personally, John and Sara have passionately dedicated themselves to making Vermont's communities better.

John's academic and professional life has focused on children who suffer from emotional and behavioral problems, for whom he has helped develop new methods of care. One example of John's innovation is the "wrap-around" approach, bringing care and services to the families, rather than relying on clinics. John also served on the Burlington School Commission and, during the late Richard Snelling's terms as Governor, as Commissioner of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

Sara's specialty lies with children and adults with developmental disabilities. Sara was an important voice of reason when she led efforts to enable Vermont to become the first state to close its institutions for the mentally retarded. Helping those with disabilities receive the care they need and deserve has been Sara's calling, and her efforts have been nationally recognized for excellence.

As professors, John and Sara have taught and mentored generations of students who have become compassionate and effective leaders who work with and advocate for the developmentally disabled, children, and their families. Their influence extends will beyond their classrooms and their State, making people's lives healthier and more productive.

Again, I wish Drs. John and Sara Burchard congratulations and my sincerest best wishes. Their tireless work is helping to make Vermont the kind of place that Vermonters are proud to call home.