To The Editor:

Paul Hartshorn lost a huge part of his legacy on Monday morning, April 15, 2024, when his 100-plus-year-old sawmill and sugar house burnt to the ground in a horrific fire. When he turned on the engine to begin work, a spark jumped out and caught the sawdust on fire. Despite trying to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, it ignited quickly. Thankfully he got out in one piece and nobody else was hurt. Firefighters and trucks from Moretown, Warren and Waitsfield were there in minutes. They worked all day to put the flames and embers out.



The pain and anguish of losing something in minutes that you’ve devoted a large part of your life to may be a sorrow incomprehensible to those who have not experienced the sacrifice, commitment, love and lifetime of work for a business that you created. His business felt like a member of the family. He had recently updated the lumber mill equipment, and some of the maple sugaring equipment and tools that we still use were stored in the old sugar house.

Countless homes and businesses in The Valley were benefactors of the sawmill, and thousands of gallons of maple syrup were made in the sugar house part of it. Homegrown businesses that create products from the land in The Valley are special and unique.

The mill is gone but it was much more than a mill. What has come out of the burning embers is an outpouring of help and generosity from many people.

First and foremost, we want to recognize Paul’s brotherhood, his fellow firefighters. They were by his side to contain this fire and also extend their friendship and support.

In the days ahead, people are going to come out in support in a multitude of ways.

That’s what we do in this Valley. So much more than lumber and syrup will be this building’s legacy.

There will be something that will rise from this tragedy — that will be extraordinary — that he can again be proud of.

Dave Hartshorn