One of the constants during Art and Sue Greenbaum’s life in the Brattleboro community has been their home. Since moving from Long Island more than 40 years ago, they have maintained the same residence in the Hillwinds neighborhood. It was there they raised their two daughters, Coree and Kari, taking them on ski trips to the same mountain resorts by which they came to know and love southern Vermont.
Such permanence has been no small feat. Sue recalled their decision to move to the area was made without any employment prospects. “It was pretty gutsy. We ran out of money before we could completely finish building the house,” she said with amusement. “Art said to me one morning after we had moved in: ‘I’ll be home when I get a job.’”
Fortunately, Art found a job that evening. A construction company based in Hartford, Connecticut assigned him to a project at Greenfield Community College. When that was finished he worked on Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington. Then it was a Shawmut Bank in Boston. When Art’s next assignment was supposed to be Syracuse, New York, Sue put her foot down. “She told me, ‘we didn’t move to Vermont for you to go to work two and three hours away’,” Art remembered with a laugh.
Thus it was in 1975 that GPI Construction was born, with the young couple each putting in time to build the business while also immersing themselves in the local community. Art joined the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, was a board member at the Humane Society, and spent time working with the Boy Scouts and Youth Services as a Big Brother. Sue was active in the Brownies and Parents-As-Teachers, a precursor to the current Early Education Services organization. And continues her 30 + year volunteer commitment to the Christmas Stocking.
As for BMH, Sue joked that their family members have been “good customers” over the years, starting with Kari’s birth. Each member has had their share of illnesses and injuries over the years. And they appreciated living in a small community where they could get to know their medical providers. The Greenbaums’ appreciation for the hospital and its physicians was elevated four years ago, when Dr. Nicholas Bartenhagen diagnosed Sue as having polymyositis a connective tissue disease.
“We met with the top two physicians in the neurology department at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and they confirmed Dr. Bartenhagen’s diagnosis was 100 percent correct,” Art said. “They told us Sue was welcome to come to Dartmouth-Hitchcock for treatment, but frankly, we could get the exact same care at BMH.”
The Greenbaums contribute to the hospital both financially and with their time and resources. Sue volunteers in the Development Office and has also helped in the Breast Care Center. Art has participated in Touch a Truck. He brings GPI vehicles to the event, including the popular Kubota tractor that allows kids to play with a pile of wood chips. And currently he is co-chairing the Capital Campaign for the Emergency Department renovation and expansion, along with Martha O’Connor.
“The reality of it is that the hospital has been there for our family, and the community is an extension of our family,” said Art. “The hospital not only takes care of our health needs but provides a lot for our economic base, bringing physicians and a lot of high-tech skilled labor jobs. It’s important we keep reinvesting so it’s there for the next family that needs it.”