By Jack Healey
It was brutally hot on Saturday afternoon, but it didn’t stop the hundreds of mourners many from the Lenny Burke Farm who filed into the the Castleton University Pavilion to pay their respects to former MSJ basketball standout Lenny Burke. It was a beautiful service as members of the family and others spoke of their memories of Lenny.
Former Castleton University President David Wolk spoke first. He was a guidance counselor at MSJ at the time Lenny was a student there. Lenny’s mom Emma was next and the love and dedication and courage of this amazing lady was shown again on Saturday as her words were received with a standing ovation.
Then Lenny’s siblings spoke all with class and eloquence and all with so much love in their hearts. Younger brothers Kevin and Michael Burke and sister Kathleen Burke Kourebanas. Also Dr. Ron Savage who worked so hard over the years to educate the public on traumatic brain injuries spoke as did Jim Kelley who was Lenny’s basketball coach and is now a dedicated member of the family. Finally a prayer of strength and peace was read by Tommy Kourebanas.Tommy is Lenny’s nephew and was an All-State offensive and defensive lineman at Essex and is now playing Division 1 football at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. Tommy was also a member of the Vermont Shrine team that was recognized at the very same Castleton University pavilion almost a year ago. The service ended with the hymn “How Great Thou Art”, Lenny’s favorite hymn.
Rutlanders turned out to celebrate Lenny’s life, the same way they turned out to raise over $100,000 during a two day “Miracle Radiothon”in March of 1979. Rest In Peace Lenny Burke. God Bless You. You are an inspiration to all of us!
A Fitting Memorial!
By Jack Healey