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Young Professionals




April 23, 2021 • Section Y • Callicoon, NY




APRIL 2021

Kaelin Salvatore

Kaelin Salvatore able to purchase the business in the near future. “It is something we enjoy doing, so it seemed like a natural next


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(845) 887-5200 Callicoon, NY 12723 April 23, 2021 • Vol. CXXX, No. 91

step,” Kaelin said. As the Office Manager, she is in charge of ordering, receiving, paperwork and the financial backend of the business. Office and business management is something she realized she enjoyed doing when she returned home to Honesdale after briefly attending Kutztown University and worked in the office at The Alpine restaurant. The Honesdale native graduated from Honesdale High School and now she and her husband live there with their three children— Carson, six, Abraham, four (who is almost five, he would like you to know), and Timothy, 18 months. Kaelin says they like to enjoy spending time outdoors together as a family and they have a large garden that they take care of. But

they rarely have free time with work and running their young sons around. “We work a lot, so if we didn’t work together we wouldn’t always have a lot of time to see each other,” she said. The 31-year-old has worked at Delaware Valley Farm & Garden Center since 2016 and says one of her favorite parts of the job is getting to learn something every day. “There’s always something new to learn here,” she said. “And I can take that knowledge to my home and garden.” She also enjoys getting to know the customers, “It’s nice that everybody knows who you are, you get the same local people that come in all the time,” she said. “So it’s nice to be able to establish a relationship with people.”

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orking at Delaware Valley Farm & Garden Center in Callicoon you do a little bit of everything because, well, the store offers a little bit of everything. The community mainstay has been around for over 25 years and now the legacy will continue with Kaelin Salvatore and her husband, Kyle. They’ve both been working there for a few years; Kaelin is the Office Manager and Kyle is a manager. Kyle worked there in high school and came back later when Kaelin also started working at the store. The current owners, Rich and Disa Wulff, plan to retire and Kaelin hopes she and Kyle will be

‘It’s nice that everybody knows who you are, you get the same local people that come in all the time... ...so it’s nice to be able to establish a relationship with people.’



Dr. Maegan Sauer-Erlwein, OD

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Publisher: Co- Editors: Editorial Assistants: Advertising Director: Assistant Advertising Director: Special Sections Coordinator: Production Manager: Advertising Coordinator: Business Manager: Assistant Business Manager: Telemarketing Coordinator: Monticello Office Manager: Classified Manager: Production Associates: Circulation & Distribution:

Fred W. Stabbert III Joseph Abraham and Matt Shortall Isabel Braverman, Margaret Bruetsch, Kathy Daley, Richard Ross, Jeanne Sager, Ed Townsend Liz Tucker Barbara Matos Susan Panella Petra Duffy Lillian Ferber Susan Owens Patricia Biedinger Michelle Reynolds Margaret Bruetsch Janet Will Elizabeth Finnegan, Nyssa Calkin, Katey Dnistrian, Jessica Roda, Rosalie Mycka Anthony Bertholf, John Fischer, Phil Grisafe

APRIL 2021




Kaelin Salvatore loves working with the customers as the Office Manager for Delaware Valley Farm & Garden Center in Callicoon.

Kaelin, Congrats! Thank you for your Dedication & Hard Work!

30 Viaduct Road, Callicoon, NY 845-887-5100


Your Delaware Valley Farm & Garden Family




APRIL 2021



s Director of Business Development for Rolling V Bus Corp. & Affiliates, Nick Vallone has many responsibilities. The 31-year-old native of Queens studied Business Management at St. John’s University. His degree prepared him for overseeing strategic partnerships, real estate management, insurance procurement, competitive bidding, public and government relations and policy making. Additionally, as President-Elect of the New York State Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA), Vallone is involved with an organization that comprises

‘We always support local clubs and organizations whether that be via donations, involvement or both.’ Nick Vallone more than 100 school transportation service companies. According to their website, NYSBCA’s primary mission is “safe, reliable and cost-effective student transportation in New York State.”

Vallone grew up in the business and says, “There is nothing better than working with family.” He assumed professional and leadership roles back in 2013. Asked what he likes most about his job, Vallone answers, “Simply, the people.” But like every job, this one has its challenges as well. “The nationwide Commercial Driver Shortage has been the most challenging aspect of the job over the last few years and looking to the future,” said Vallone. He also cited the difficulties inherent in adapting to new technologies “including the inevitable move towards electric vehicles,” as being at the top of the list. Vallone currently divides his

time between Westchester and Sullivan Counties, and makes a home with his wife Kayla, and nine-month-old daughter Emilia. Work doesn’t allow for a lot of free time, and what little he has is spent with his family, but someday, he hopes to “get back on the golf course.” Coming from a family that has a tradition of community service, Vallone serves on the board of his local Boys & Girls Club in Westchester County, and as he begins to spend more time in Sullivan County will be taking a part in local organizations. Said Vallone, “We always support local clubs and organizations whether that be via donations, involvement or both.”



YOU DESERVE TO BE RECOGNIZED for your OUTSTANDING DEDICATION and WORKING HARD EVERY DAY! You make this a better place. We are Proud to work side by side with you! From all of us at From all of your Co-Workers at









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Keep up the hard work!



APRIL 2021



Nick Vallone







APRIL 2021




Ryan Harnish

yan Harnish, 27, never saw himself working for Schmidt’s Wholesale after his deployment, but he grew into his role working in inside sales. Harnish was born and raised in Sullivan County and graduated from Liberty High School before joining the National Guard. He spent six years as a plumber in the National Guard and deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in 2016. Upon leaving the National Guard, Harnish needed a new job to start the next phase of his life. Harnish always drove past Schmidt’s Wholesale but never gave the plumbing, heating, and HVAC supply distributor much thought until he was looking for a job to re-enter civilian life, and someone he knew suggested he

apply. Since he was a plumber, Harnish said he “fit the niche” and decided to give it a try. Harnish started with Schmidt’s in 2017 as a parts clerk and was quickly promoted to inside sales in October 2018. According to Harnish, Schmidt’s distributes plumbing, heating, electric, pumps, water works, and HVAC supplies to 75 percent of New York and half of Pennsylvania, and Harnish is responsible for all water meter sales. When an outside salesman makes a sale, the call is made to Harnish, who handles the rest from writing up the orders to handling customer service. His current job with inside sales is fast paced and stressful at times, but the goal is to make customers happy, Harnish said. Although he enjoys his current position, Harnish has long term

aspirations with Schmidt’s. His goal is to move out of his office and into outside sales. Outside sales personnel work directly with the customer and sometimes attend municipal budget meetings to help them meet their water or electrical needs. Harnish said he would love to work with customers face-toface. “The sky is the limit,” Harnish stated. Even though he never saw himself in this position, he now really enjoys it. There are not many people from the younger generation working in this business, so Harnish is willing to “do what needs to be done,” he said. Outside of work, Harnish said he is a big athlete. He loves to play soccer; although, it is hard to find people to play, he said. He also loves to camp, kayak, and play Xbox.

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APRIL 2021

To My First Born Son


Congratulations Ryan! I am so proud of you and all the accomplishments you’ve achieved over the last 3.5 years at Schmidt ’s. You are such a hard worker and accomplish anything and everything you put your mind to.

We are So Very Proud of You and All of Your Accomplishments in Life!


Love, Mom, Gregg, Lexi, Rhylie & the Rest of the Gang

! y R , s n io t a l u t a r g n o C

You deserve nothing but the best!

Your intelligence and work ethic constantly shines so bright through you, which is why it’s not a surprise to us that you’ve been recognized for it. You are capable of achieving anything in this world and we know you’ll always make us proud.

I love you always, Shelby

Love, Sherrie, Hotch, Sheldon, & Lexi



Congr o ats Ry ! Ryan!


Monticcello, NY | Florida, NY


We love you so much!







APRIL 2021




Meg McNeill 91615

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Congratulatio ons to all of the young professionals. Sullivan County is a beautiful tapestr y of people and places. Thank you for leading in service to your community; y and being the change yo ou wish to see in your hometow wn.


Learn how to get involved, visit:


APRIL 2021





ack in June of 2017, Meg McNeill felt something was missing from Livingston Manor. That’s when she opened Upstream Wine & Spirits. “I saw a need in the area for a curated, natural-leaning wine shop.” Upstream specializes in sustainable, organic, and biodynamic beverages. Two years later, McNeill decided she wanted a place for her friends and customers to drink wine besides their homes, so she opened a bar called Sunshine Colony. Both businesses are located on the hamlet’s Main Street. The 36-year-old California native moved around the country


quite a bit when she was growing up, but remained in one place long enough to attend Savannah College of Art and Design. Now a resident of Livingston Manor, McNeill not only owns the two businesses, she also serves as shopkeeper, buyer, stock person, bartender, gardener and more. Upstream Wine & Spirits and Sunshine Colony are both labors of love to McNeill. Her businesses are unique, she says, because “Everything is handpicked and carefully sourced from around the world. We work with dozens of small importers to find uncommon wines and spirits that are really thoughtful and special.” In addition to her husband Kevin, who McNeill married the

‘I saw a need in the area for a curated, natural-leaning wine shop... everything is handpicked and carefully sourced from around the world.’ Meg McNeill same summer she opened her first business, she also spends time with a 17-year-old dog

named Broccoli, who acts as the mascot for Upstream Wines & Spirits. Any free time is filled with cooking, traveling, hiking and gardening. Although McNeill finds paperwork to be the most challenging part of owning a business, she makes up for it by reveling in telling the stories of the people behind the bottles, taking special delight in “hooking my customers up with the perfect wine for them, when my customers become my friends!” McNeill is on her third year as President of the Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce, and she’s served on the Trout Parade committee for several years, proving she’s a bona fide member of her community.




APRIL 2021



hen you talk to Patrick Murphy, you know that he cares about his family and his business. A Sullivan County native and Sullivan West 2009 graduate, Murphy started his lawn care company, Murphy Mowing, 10 years ago. Murphy Mowing can take care of all your lawn and landscaping needs. From grass cutting, tree trimming and spring landscape cleaning, Murphy is confident that he can handle it. “I am not afraid to take stuff on,” said Murphy. And it’s with that same attitude that he has been able to build his business for the last

‘...to the aspiring young professionals if they want to work, there will be work to be found... you should not be afraid to take on big projects or ideas.’ Patrick Murphy

10 years. Along that time, Murphy started a party tent business called J & P Tents with

a friend. When he is not cutting lawns, Murphy can be found at the Jeffersonville Fire Department giving back to his community while also protecting the community as a correction officer for a local prison. Overall, what Murphy enjoys most is spending time with his family –– his wife Regina and their two-year-old twin boys Ryan and Aidan. If there is ever a day off, Murphy likes to go fishing and hunting. When asked if he has been able to go trout fishing yet, he was disappointed that he had not been able to, because he has been busy with work and home life.

Murphy was happy to find out that he would be featured in the Sullivan County Democrat Young Professional Magazine and says that hard work and dedication is what he attributes to his success. And he says to the aspiring young professionals if they want to work, there will be work to be found. Moreover, you should not be afraid to take on big projects or ideas. He said it is one of the things that has been important to him and has helped propel his business and in life in general. Murphy said if anyone needs help with their landscaping needs, don’t be afraid to give him a call at (845) 707-3014.

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APRIL 2021





We are very proud of you!!! Keep up the good work!!!


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The Murphy's Mom ,Dad, Sean & Sara , Jake, Regina, Aidan & Ryan

P.O. Box 387 Jeffersonville, NY 12748


With his twin sons Aidan (left) and Ryan, Patrick Murphy is ready to get to work as a Young Professional in Sullivan County.

Congratulations to all the young professionals and thank you for your dedication to enhancing Sullivan County’s business community

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APRIL 2021




s a community activist, Dayna Halprin is busy pretty much i24/7. From organizing lobbying efforts to speaking out at protests, Halprin has become a vocal supporter for people and causes that they care deeply about. And as a chef for Early Bird Cookery, a farm-to-table catering company based in Callicoon, they get to work in a profession that they love while giving back to those who are underserved. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Early Bird Cookery has prepared 250 meals a week that get distributed to people in the Sullivan County region. The Fallsburg native attended Green Mountain College in Vermont to study sustainability and agriculture. It was there they became

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interested in the connection between food and sustainability, before returning home. “My whole reason for coming back to Sullivan County was to do this kind of work and try to contribute to the community here,” Halprin said. “It does feel full circle that we’re doing the food donation program now.” After graduating, they began working at Catskill Harvest Market in Liberty, continuing their passion. But when it closed, Halprin was looking toward the next step. They enrolled in the culinary program at SUNY Sullivan and while working on a catering job met Amy Miller, owner of Early Bird Cookery. Now they’ve worked there for nine years. In addition to being a chef, Halprin also serves on the Committee for Equity and Justice and is president of the Sullivan County Young Democrats. Part of their focus in revitalizing the Young Democrats group was to bring young people in the county


Chef Dayna Halprin keeps busy working at Early Bird Cookery and being involved in local social activism issues.

together to work on initiatives that don’t necessarily fall on party lines, such as organizing litter plucks and creating a COVID vaccine hotline to help people secure appointments. “I wanted to work on community outreach and mutual aid projects,” CONTINUED NEXT PAGE


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APRIL 2021


Alfredo Javier Rojas BY MATT SHORTALL


t might just be a sign of the times, but business has been good for 28-year-old Plant Manager Alfredo Javier Rojas at Allees Sign Co. Based out of Ferndale, Allees Sign Co. was founded by WWII veteran Ed Allees in 1948. The company has grown over the years to span three counties in New York with over 90 signs and billboards. To this day, the company continues to keep Ed’s creative spirit alive. In addition to various office duties, Rojas often oversees most projects from start to finish, including construction, landscaping and billboard installation. “It’s nice because you get to deal with something different pretty much every day,” Rojas said. Rojas was originally brought on at


Halprin said. “And one of the big things is voter outreach and education, because that is a way people can be involved and play a part.” Halprin and others created the Equality in Sullivan County Now organization that over the summer hosted protests and rallies in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Their focus is on racial disparities in different sectors and speaking out on injustices, both here in the county and nationally. It may come as no surprise that

Allees Sign Co. by company managers Steve Korba and Inge GrafeKieklak. While doing some handy work on his apartment which is owned by Grafe-Kieklak, they asked if he was interested in joining the team. “I said ‘why not? I’ll give it a try,’” Rojas explained. “I started learning little by little.” Sometimes the billboards are painted and other times they use a tarp-like material that rolls down over the frame. It often requires more than one person to install, but Rojas does a lot of work by himself. He developed his own technique to increase efficiency. He installs clamps to the top of the billboard which allows him to roll everything else down the face of the sign. Allees Sign’s clients have included many well-known and respected

local businesses, including Robert Green Auto and Truck Inc., Foster Supply Hospitality, Wyde Lumber, McDonald’s, Piccolo Paese Ristorante Italiano and more. While billboard installation occasionally requires a tolerance for heights, Rojas says that it’s working outside in the fresh air that really appeals to him. When new “billboard faces” are going up, it means business is good for that company as well as Allees Sign Co. While some months are slower than others, Rojas said that last month they installed at least seven new faces of various sizes. Rojas enjoys working with his hands, and he has experience in various kinds of construction and roofing. He says he could see himself running his own company one day specializing in home renovations. In his spare time, Rojas also enjoys



Alfredo Javier Rojas

working on cars. “But it’s tough because I’m always keeping busy,” he said with a laugh.

Halprin is frequently asked if they would run for political office, but they said they are too busy. “I also don’t want to stop all the community activist work that I’m doing because I’m holding political office,” they said. “But I do like to work behind the scenes.” Halprin said anyone who wants to run for office or help in those efforts should contact the Young Democrats. “I would like to see more young people get involved who want to be making positive changes in their community,” Halprin said. “Personal service by caring folks, what could be beer!” Jim Mead ‐ Early Owego Anque Center “You Rock!” Irene Tsicalos ‐ Liberty Diner “ALLEES SIGN COMPANY will work with you and create the best design to suit your needs. Expert guidance with a personal touch. Steve and Inge follow thru with their years of experience and innovave experse.” Faigi Ehrenhaus ‐ AHAVA Medical and Rehabilitaon & Urgent Care Center, LLC


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APRIL 2021



isa Pontorero has been helping people all her life. And as a Project Hope Crisis Team Leader for New York Project Hope Coping with COVID-19, it’s what she does every day. “I’m a helper. If someone needs me, or they need information, or they need to talk... I’m available,” said Pontorero. Recently, New York State was granted funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide counseling for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; New York Project Hope does this with a team of counselors and an emotional support hotline. The project is working with Independent Living, a consumer-directed, cross-disability advocacy and service organiza-

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tion dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. A Liberty High School graduate, Pontorero received her Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Marist College. She went on to receive her Master’s Degree from Argosy University for School Counseling. She says she is looking to go back to school to obtain her Ph.D. Degree. “I want to open up my own practice one day,” said Pontorero. Soon after school, she went to work for The Center for Discovery before becoming a rape crisis counselor for Rape, Intervention, Services & Education of Sullivan County (RISE). After some traveling, Pontorero returned to Sullivan County. “Being that Sullivan County is my home, I feel the need to try to

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help. And the need is great right now,” said Pontorero. She realizes that Sullivan County has limited resources and has seen its share of better days, but she still feels this is a great place to live and work. “Trying to help connect people with resources is important. It’s really important,” added Pontorero. She says that sometimes it can feel that your job is not making a difference, and to that, she says, “Sometimes you just need someone to have a simple conversation to get something off their chest.” When Pontorero found out that she would be featured in Young Professionals, she felt honored and said that it proves you can make something of yourself in your hometown. “Success could be right around the corner,” said Pontorero. When Pontorero is not working hard helping people, she loves the outdoors and spends time in her garden and keeping busy with Do It Yourself Projects. She also likes to craft, is an avid reader, and loves going to the gym and working out. One of her passions is to cook. While she cooks all types of food, her main dishes are Latin-based due to her Brazilian roots. “I try to create a lot, and that’s how I like to learn about other cultures, is through their food,” said Pontorero. Pontorero also credits networking for her success. Well, this county might be significant in miles; the county still has a small-


Lisa Pontorero

town feel to it. “I have great relationships with local business owners here since I’ve lived here all my life. We try to talk about ideas on how to make the county better and what we can do as a community,” said Pontorero. For future Young Professionals, Pontorero says, “It sounds so cliche, but don’t give up and reach for the stars because everything is possible. Sometimes we feel that we may be stuck in a cycle, but it is up to us to break that cycle. Anything is possible.” For more information on Independent Living, visit www.myindependentliving.org and for information on NY Project Hope Coping with COVID-19, visit nyprojecthope.org, and if you need emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic, please call 1-844-863-9314 or their direct line, 1- 845-762-2275.

APRIL 2021




Ronda Ottino

t wouldn’t even take you a minute to discover that Ronda Ottino is meant to be around people. The charismatic Liberty native is the first friendly face to greet clients at S & R Accounting, located in her hometown and in the same plaza as Beer World in Liberty, NY. For Ottino, a twin and one of the youngest of nine siblings, family is very important. When she isn’t working, you’ll most likely find Ronda spending time with them. Her parents passed away when she and her siblings were young, and many of them were separated. However, they never lost touch. In fact, their bonds only grew stronger. She enjoys spending time with family, especially hanging out with her nieces and nephews. Ronda is married to Scott Ottino. The couple has been together for over 20 years and complement each other well. They support each other’s endeavors and laughter is their key to a happy marriage. At Liberty Central School District, where she met and has known best friend and business partner Sharon Freestone since Kindergarten, Ottino was the first girl to play football for the Indians (getting some reps on the defensive end), and also played soccer, basketball and softball. In addition to juggling academics and athletics, Ottino started working at a young age. Like it is for many raised in Liberty, her first job was at the well-known Liberty Diner. After high school, which included a brief stint in Florida, Ronda returned home to her roots. She got her associate’s degree in Business Administration from SUNY Sullivan, and then worked for the county in social services and public health, in early intervention.

She then started her own business, Billing, Bookkeeping and Beyond. Ottino later convinced Freestone to start doing taxes, and merged her business into S & R Accounting, which the best-friend duo started in 2019. Freestone is the CPA and Ottino handles various administrative tasks, such as payroll and account management. So what’s it like for Ronda and Sharon working together as best friends? “I get to laugh everyday,” said Sharon, who describes Ronda as kind, funny and smart. Ronda agreed that there is plenty of laughter, but added that they also hold one another accountable. Some of the services S & R offers include bookkeeping, payroll, accounting, tax preparation services and consulting. But as they quickly learned, clients have a unique set of needs that often goes beyond the general services offered. Therefore, Sharon and Ronda have adapted to help those they serve. They are personable, professional and take pride in their work. For example, S & R Accounting (who were voted Best Tax Preparers two years in a row by the River Reporter) recently helped clients apply for PPP Loans during the pandemic and helped one business secure its liquor license. As for what she enjoys about her job, Ottino says, “Being able to help clients. They’re relieved we are here.” Ronda and Sharon care about the people they assist and, in addition to helping them with tasks, they’re there to listen. As Ronda explained, “We sometimes become counselors as people come in and tell us their dayto-day struggles. We become their friends!” To learn more about more about S & R Accounting, srabc123.com.


Ronda Ottino

Congratulaons Ronda Ono and all the other featured Young Professionals! Here’s to your connued success!







APRIL 2021



he head farmer of New Hope Community, Megan Greene, has a great passion for food, farming, and supporting others through food. The 31-year-old started with New Hope in January 2020 after an extensive history in her field of food, farming, and sustainability. Greene grew up in Olive Bridge in Ulster County and received her bachelor’s degree in sociology before graduating from Chatam University with her master’s degree in food studies with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Before she moved back to the Hudson Valley three years ago, she worked in California with AmeriCorps in nutrition education and outreach for pre-school age children. She has also worked

with Cornell Cooperative Extension and helped coordinate fresh produce from 40 local farms to 50 emergency food providers. While Greene was doing good work that helped her community, she wanted to get back to farming, so she applied for an open position with New Hope Community. New Hope Community is a nonprofit organization that helps support people with intellectual disabilities. The organization supports 42 residential homes, day programs, and employment services. Greene, as the head farmer, runs a heated greenhouse in a partnership with SUNY Sullivan’s Sustainability and Culinary programs in Loch Sheldrake. Microgreens and lettuce are planted in winter while seedlings


Megan Greene

are planted the rest of the year. Greene values her position at New Hope because she “didn’t necessarily farm for profit” and “wanted a community based” job. New Hope allows her to create a more inclusive environment surrounded by food. A major goal of Greene’s is to develop more community participation and making New Hope more of a community space. Currently, there are volunteers and supported employees on the farm. She said she hopes she can make “a space where everyone can come together and learn from each other.” She is also looking to create more community partnerships and hopes New Hope will 88996

partner with BOCES in the summer. Aside from her job on the farm, Greene loves to hike, walk her dogs, and learned to ski this year. She also loves to cook, which brings her work right to her own kitchen. “I love being outside and farming,” she said. Her motivation for her work is “the tangible or physical results of the work.” She loves to share the food that is grown on the farm and the excitement that the volunteers show when they get to eat what they grew. Her passion is not only for the food that is grown, but also the “confidence [that volunteers build] that is instilled from working on the farm,” she said.

Young Professionals 2021  

Meet some of the young professionals that make Sullivan County great.

Young Professionals 2021  

Meet some of the young professionals that make Sullivan County great.


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