Emo Henrich Award presented to local recipients

STRATTON -- Lee Romano, the former publisher of Stratton Magazine and co-owner of Birkenhaus, and Adriane and Alois Lechner, who have a combined 85 years of service to the Stratton Mountain community, have received the Emo Henrich Award, named for Stratton Mountain's longtime ski school director. The awards are presented each year by the Stratton Foundation to community members who have made a lasting impact on the quality of life at Stratton through professional excellence and community service.

Kimet Hand of Manchester, the Henrich Award coordinator, presented the 2016 award to Romano during the Dec. 9 ceremonies in the Patti Kaltsas Arts Center at Stratton Mountain School. "Lee is absolutely the perfect recipient for this award. He was a longtime Stratton employee who made a lasting impact at Stratton, both with his journalistic and publishing skills, as well as his music," Hand said.

Since Romano's arrival at Stratton in 1975, alongside his wife Susan, he made significant contributions to the promotion of Stratton Mountain as a leading resort destination in New England. Romano's early tenure at the Stratton marketing department led to his appointment as advertising manager and subsequently publisher of the resort's Stratton Mountain News in 1977. A skilled singer and bass guitarist, Romano and his friend Andy Avery joined forces as the popular 70's duo Pure and Simple, regularly performing at the Stratton Mountain Inn and throughout southern Vermont.

As magazine publisher, Romano provided important coverage of many of the area's non-profit organizations and their activities over the years. He lent his personal and professional support to many entities, including the Stratton Foundation, Stratton Mountain School, the Carlos Otis Clinic, Weston Playhouse, the Dorset Theater Festival and the Manchester Music Festival, among many others. He was a founding board member, and past president, of Riley Rink at Hunter Park as well as long time board member, and past president, of the Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the board of United Counseling Service and the Dorset Conservation Commission.

Romano sold Stratton Magazine in 2016 to Stratton Foundation Director Carolyn Blitz. Romano can still be found at Stratton, volunteering as an on-snow ambassador for the Carlos Otis Clinic.

Tini Henrich, daughter of Ann and Emo Henrich, presented the 2017 Henrich Award to Alois and Adriane Lechner of Peru, and shared greetings from her mother from Innsbruck and reminiscences of growing up on Stratton in those early decades.

Adriane Lechner, who began her Stratton career in 1970 working in Little Cub Ski School for Muriel Bouton, has been a fixture at the resort since the '60s. Her mother, Carmen Mescia, was Henrich's secretary back in the very early days of the resort. By the early '80s, she had moved to the Stratton Ski School desk, organizing lessons, ski instructors and ski weeks.

From 1985 to 1990, Adriane Lechner worked in a variety of Stratton retail outlets including: Stratton 100 (now Equipe Sport), Stratton Sports in Manchester, CB Sports and Bogner. Adriane was called back to the Ski School in 1991, capably handling Ski School reservations and seasonal programs, followed by several years at the Stratton Sales Center before moving to the Stratton Mountain Club as a concierge in 2006.

In 1992 Adriane married ski school director Alois Lechner, who was first brought to Vermont — from Zell um Zee, Austria in 1967 — by Henrich. First a ski instructor, coach, and trainer in Henrich's ski school, he became technical supervisor in 1975, and was named assistant director in 1979. Ultimately, he was named Stratton Ski School director upon Henrich's retirement in 1980.

Later, he became an advisor to the eastern Intrawest ski and snowboard schools. His ski career has encompassed all aspects of the Stratton ski school operation from Little Cub through coaching. Alois also traveled south to Argentina, where he coached the Argentine National team, and served as ski school and race director at Club Argentino de Ski for almost 20 years.

"This winter, Adriane's 35th and Louis' 50th at Stratton, was a perfect time to recognize them with the Emo Henrich Award for both of their many years for service, and volunteerism at Stratton, both making a lasting impact on the quality of life at Stratton Mountain," Hand said.

The Stratton Foundation is a community-based nonprofit that cares about southern Vermont, by providing financial support to programs that address the challenges of poverty, and directly to families that experience an incidence of emergency or natural disaster.


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