Warren Miller, the unofficial Mayor of Elmore, left a void in his town when he died nearly a year ago. Now his family, friends and neighbors are working to fill that void by brightening some young person’s future.
That’s the promise behind the Warren Miller Memorial Scholarship.
Miller’s dedication to his community went far beyond his occupation as proprietor of The Elmore Store. He was a founding member of the Elmore Fire Department, served as the town’s fire warden and constable and chaired the town school board, on which he sat for two decades. He also served his community as representative in the Vermont Legislature.
So, it should come as no surprise that community service is at the heart of the memorial scholarship, which will be awarded annually to any graduating Elmore resident going on to post-secondary education. The inaugural scholarship was awarded in June to Peoples Academy graduate Annie Boudreau.
Boudreau received $805.20, an amount reflective of the day Miller died — Aug. 5, 2020. She will attend the University of Vermont in the fall and plans to study middle school education.
“A small community helps you be who you are,” Boudreau reflected. “I think I carried that through with me to Peoples and I hope to do the same at the University of Vermont.”
The scholarship fund’s board of directors is actively fundraising to ensure the fund’s solvency. That effort has been jumpstarted by Miller’s close friend and business partner, Jim Casey, and his wife, Alison Casey. The couple have offered up a $25,000 matching grant.
Jim Casey called Miller “one of the greatest men I’ve ever met in my entire life,” adding, “He always went out of his way to help me and we just became really good friends.”
As Elmore looks forward to its annual Labor Day celebration, which includes fireworks over the lake, there’s a new opportunity for Elmore residents and camp owners to show their community pride. The scholarship fund is selling small red lights for what it’s calling Warren’s Ring.
The idea is, on Labor Day, community members will display the lights, which are actually magnetic LED road beacons. The hope is residents around Lake Elmore will display the lights near the lakeshore for the Labor Day fireworks display, thus creating a ring of light around the lake.
“The idea of the light is to represent our community as one,” said Todd Baxter, chair of the scholarship fund board.
Warren’s widow Kathy noted that after Labor Day purchasers can keep the lights in their car in case of emergency.
“And if you break down, Warren will help you, ‘cause Warren would have helped you anyway,” she said.
Of course, the lights can be purchased at The Elmore Store. Donations to the Warren Miller Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 131, Lake Elmore VT 05657.