Jeff Benay, Board Chair I have been President of the Board since its inception. I believe Franklin County Caring Community represents one of the best examples of grassroots organizational development in Vermont and that we promote a prevention orientation that is nonpareil in its delivery. I hold a BA from Union College in Schenectady, NY, having graduating with honors in English Literature ( I was a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate as well ); I hold an MA from the University of Vermont (UVM) in Counseling and Foundational Studies, and a Doctorate from UVM in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Currently, I am the Director of Indian Education for Franklin County Public Schools and I was the long-time Commissioner of Native American Affairs for the State of Vermont, having served under Governor Howard Dean for five terms and Governor James Douglas for two terms, before retiring from state office. I live in Fairfax with my wife Julie, Principal of the Mallett’s Bay School, and with our dog Bali, and our cat, Max. Julie and I are parents of two children who both reside in NYC. I enjoy long walks, reading, listening to music, and partaking of political discourse.
Belinda Bessette is a lifelong resident of Franklin County who has spent the past 17 years working at Northwestern Counseling and Support Services living out her passion and commitment to children and families residing here. She has been on multiple boards, most recently that of the St Albans Town Educational Center, where she tries to offer perspective of those living within marginalized means and/or with Mental Health and Substance Abuse concerns given her education as a Licensed Social Worker and her experience at NCSS. She believes in resilience being something to notice and build upon, while highlighting someone’s strengths and sense of belonging to community as a tool to reduce the effects of negative events or experiences.She and her husband, Jared, along with their three daughters, enjoy camping, spending time with friends and family, while also engaging in recreational opportunities in the St. Albans area to build relationships to enhance connection and community belonging!
Tim Comings is a native of Franklin County Vermont who has returned to the area and is currently employed by Northwestern Medical Center. He is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the State of Vermont and has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Tim is serving the Emergency Department as the Clinician in a program called Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, funded by a grant from the VT Department of Health to provide prevention and treatment services to patients. Tim has been involved with programs for Prevention, Intervention and Treatment of substance use disorders in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont for 34 years. Tim has served on the New Hampshire Board of Professional Practice, Peer Review Committee and helped develop school and community based programs for youth in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Tim is a family man living with his wife in the hills of Vermont where they enjoy family gatherings with their children, step children and grandchildren. A life-long musician and writer, Tim has performed and recorded with many popular bands over the years and is a full member of the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers. You may catch Tim performing in the area from time to time both as a solo artist and with other musical friends.