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Alumni Spotlight

Michelle Leblanc '92Michelle LeBlanc '92

Michelle directs Vermont Paws and Boots, a nonprofit organization that matches veterans and first responders with service dogs, and trains the new human-canine duos to work together. It recently relocated to Bennington, VT from a location further north in the state, in part to be more accessible for those in all of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“The unique part about Vermont Paws and Boots is I assist not only veterans but first responders. Whether it’s firefighters, EMTs, police officers, ER nurses, ambulance drivers, anything that deals with the public in a trauma situation on a daily basis, I’ll assist,” explained Michelle in a news interview.

She began the program in 2015, running it part-time until retiring from the Vermont State Police in 2019. She says Vermont had no service dog training programs at that time.

See more in the Bennington, VT Banner.  |  See article and video on

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Emily Jordan '192nd Lt. Emily Jordan '19
January 19, 2021
Second Lt. Emily Jordan is one of about 500 Massachusetts National Guard personnel who deployed to Washington ahead of the inauguration. Jordan, 23, grew up in Dalton (MA) and graduated from Wahconah Regional High School in 2015. She is said to be the first female infantry officer in the history of the Massachusetts National Guard.
See the full article (links to news site). Also see Live from Northfield, Vermont ... Welcome, Mr. President!

Karen Daffner ‘77 (L)Karen Daffner '77
January 19, 2021
Longtime Schenectady (NY) City School District coach and physical education teacher Karen Daffner (at left) was ecstatic when her girls’ bowling team won the Section II Class A championship last season — the first Section II title for any girls’ program at that high school in 16 years. But that milestone win — and none of the victories or losses in any of the four sports she coached at various levels for 31 seasons — didn’t define her legacy. Instead, what everyone who had their lives touched by Daffner will remember are her toughness contrasted with her many acts of kindness and generosity.
See the full article (links to news site) (A previous article, just one week before, available here.)

Cyran Willis '20Cyran Willis '20
January 15, 2021
Three months after Cyran Willis '20 lost his Norwich class ring at Hampton Beach (NH), a complete stranger reached out to return it. Brian Knowlton of Westfield, MA says every time he finds a lost ring at the beach with his metal detector, he always makes his best effort to find the owner and reunite them with their lost valuable. He cleaned off the ring and found Willis' name engraved inside, and began a journey on social media to connect the class ring to its rightful owner.
See the full article (links to article and video on 

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Andrew Torressen '17 1st Lt. Andrew Torressen '17
January 14, 2021

Andrew Torressen, a 2017 Norwich University graduate from Moultonborough, New Hampshire, began the new year exemplifying his alma mater’s service-before-self mission. He joined New Hampshire National Guard units coordinating COVID-19 vaccinations for people at high risk of infection — health care workers, first responders and people working or living in long-term care.
See the full article (links to news story).

Joe Bertrand ‘18 (far Right)Joe Bertrand '18
January 8, 2021
Saugus (MA) High School (SHS) boys’ basketball will have a Bertrand leading the way. The school’s athletic department announced on Dec. 30 that former Saugus great and 1,000-plus-point scorer Joe Bertrand will co-coach the boys’ varsity team with Bill Cahill in an interim role.
See the full article (links to news site) Also see Bertrand Brothers Band Together in Coaching.

Photo caption: From 2016, Norwich University basketball player Dan Bertrand '20, father Mark, SHS boys basketball coach Paul Moran and Joe Bertrand '18, one of the senior members of the Cadets squad that year, from left, are shown together after a game at Plymouth State University. Four years later, Joe will be a co-coach of the Saugus boys' basketball varsity team.

Don Brown '77Don Brown '77
January 7, 2021
University of Arizona football coach Jedd Fisch on Thursday morning announced the hiring of legendary defensive mind Don Brown '77 as the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator. Brown, long known for his aggressive and blitz-heavy attacks, has earned the nickname “Dr. Blitz”. Widely considered one of the top defensive coaches in college football, Brown joins Arizona after five successful seasons leading the Michigan Wolverines defense. Don is a 2007 inductee in the Norwich University Athletic Hall of Fame.
See the full article (links to news site) Also see Former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown to take the same role at Arizona.

Sean Kalletta '17
January 3, 2021
Kalletta, a Suffolk County (NY) police officer, led a man and woman to safety after running into their burning home in Selden on Saturday night, Jan. 2. According to Suffolk police, Officer Kalletta “entered the burning home and found two residents attempting to rescue their two dogs." Kalletta then escorted the husband and wife out of their home and attempted to rescue the dogs. See the full article (links to news site).

Joseph Eanett M'09
December 25, 2020
Joe Eanett recently released the article, "The Last Gasp of Peace: The Christmas Truce of 1914" on the site War on the Rocks: National security. For insiders. By insiders. Eanett has spent the last 12 years on active duty as a U.S. Air Force officer in the security forces and intelligence career fields. He is currently an instructor of naval history at the U.S. Naval Academy, a 2007 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a Master’s in Military History from Norwich University. Read the article here.

Tiffany Haynes-Hicks, M’12Tiffany Haynes-Hicks M'12
December 28, 2020

Tiffany Haynes-Hicks, MSN, has been named president of North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency (NH). Haynes-Hicks, who most recently served as the organization’s vice president of operations, also served three years as director of hospice. 
See the full article (links to news site).


Kerin Durfee M’10Kerin Durfee M'10
December 22, 2020

Speaker of the Vermont House Mitzi Johnson has appointed Kerin Durfee of Burlington to serve on the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW), the state’s non-partisan commission working to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls. Kerin Durfee is Director of Earned Revenues and Guest Services at ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, a science and nature museum located on Burlington VT’s waterfront.
See the full article (links to news site).

Rebecca Chhim M'07
December 17, 2020
Twenty years working in cybersecurity has led Rebecca Chhim to her next position at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Newport, RI. As of Dec. 20, she will be promoted to director of cybersecurity for Undersea Warfare (USW) Combat System Integration for Submarines and USW Systems.
See the full article (links to professional site).

Robert Tintle M’12Robert Tintle M'12
December 16, 2020 

Benton County (OR) has hired Robert Tintle to be its new chief financial officer. Tintle also will take over the Financial Services Department when he joins the county work force Jan. 11. Tintle comes to the post from Lane County, where he has worked in financial positions for both the county and the city of Eugene since 2005.
See the full article (links to news site).

Bob Armstrong ’06Robert Armstrong ’06
December 8, 2020 

Catalyst Funds confirms that Bob Armstrong recently joined the Huntington, New York-based mutual fund firm as managing director of institutional sales. Armstrong will also support Catalyst's Rational Funds and Strategy Shares siblings.

Daniel J. O'Shea '83Ashley Hernandez '19
November 30, 2020 

Ashley Hernandez joined ECS Composites as Director, Special Projects after completing 20 years of honorable service in the United States Marine Corps as an Intelligence Specialist and Special Operations Capability Specialist. Ashley’s addition to the team will help ECS Composites seek new federal government contracting opportunities in emerging fields.
See the full article (links to professional site).

Daniel J. O'Shea '83Caprice Hover '90
November 27, 2020 

Caprice Hover, executive director of United Way of Rutland County, VT (UWRC), said in early September that she plans to remain in her current role until a suitable replacement for her can be found. Hover’s contributions to the community are immense, said Brian Kerns, president of the United Way of Rutland County board of directors.
See the article (links to news site).

Daniel J. O'Shea '83Gary Handley '84
November 18, 2020 

Falcons Landing has announced the appointment of Gary Handley as the new president and CEO of the life plan community in Potomac Falls (VA). Handley most recently served as the executive director at the Palms of Fort Myers, helping it become one of the first senior living communities in the U.S. to receive the J.D. Powers Senior Living Certificate. Major Handley retired from military service in 2000 after 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and Army National Guard.
See the full article (links to news site).

Daniel J. O'Shea '83Daniel O'Shea '83
November 18, 2020 

Daniel O’Shea, the first justice of Attleboro District Court, will be wearing his robe in superior court. The Massachusetts Governor’s Council has approved of his nomination by a 7-0 vote, a spokesperson said Wednesday. O’Shea, 59, has been the Attleboro court’s administrative judge for 10 years and has served in the court since 2005.
See the full article (links to news site).

Anthony Purdy '06
November 10, 2020

Veterans Day has deep meaning for former Rutland (VT) High School and Norwich University football player Anthony Purdy. “I think you reflect on the sacrifices other people have made,” Purdy said from his job at Offutt Air Force Base about 15 miles from Omaha, Nebraska. “I know some of the students from Norwich who were killed while on active duty over the last decade and a half."
See the full article (links to news site).