CANAAN, Vt. (WCAX) This is a road trip. Canaan is in the very northeast of the Northeast Kingdom, bordering both New Hampshire and Quebec. It's closer to Montreal than Burlington. You get the drift -- it's out there.
"Take you up to Beecher Falls, which is a village in the town of Canaan," said Greg Noyes of Canaan.
This story is just as much about a Super Senior as the town. In a way, Greg Noyes and the community he loves are a bond, and he does everything possible to make it thrive.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Your kind of cheerleader for the town?
Greg Noyes: I try to be.
We're on the road, and the first stop is the fire station. It's big for the size of the community -- just 972 people live in Canaan. Noyes helped build the department.
Just feet away from the fire department is the Ethan Allen Furniture factory. "A lot of memories," Noyes said. Ethan Allen was good to the 74-year-old. He started as a teen in the lumber yard, rising to become plant manager.
Reporter Joe Carroll: This is a company town.
Greg Noyes: Absolutely.
But it's a shell of what it once was. They now have only 100 employees. At one time they had over 500.
Reporter Joe Carroll: This blue building behind you, where are the parts now? Machinery?
Greg Noyes: Honduras -- unfortunately.
Noyes has a unique position. He ran the plant and is the chair of the selectboard.
"There are people looking at it, but we are quite away from the mainstream," Noyes said. Canaan's remoteness keeps the community tight, but it's a disadvantage when trying to bring in new industry.
Noreen Lebreque is the town clerk. "He wants the younger generation to stay in the area, so he is always trying to find something to keep them in the area," Lebreque said.
Economic challenges aren't unique to Canaan. Noyes says it's a struggle to keep young people in rural parts of Vermont. "You have to create your own opportunities," he said.
Noyes helped create the Community Revitalization Committee. It's goal is simple -- getting residents involved to make Canaan better. "You got to keep at it, you just can't let it go. And I think people, once they see all these things we're doing, they want to get involved as well. They appreciate what we're doing," Noyes said. "Every little bit helps."
Richard Dennis is volunteering his time painting the fountain in the town square.
Reporter Joe Carroll: And you're donating your time here?
Richard Dennis: I am, not much. I'm going to be leaving here soon.
"We're going to see the little things happening, and people will say things are happening. We don't have the big things yet, but they will come," Noyes said.
Unlike the town -- not far fetched idea.
Richard Dennis: What a beautiful day.
Greg Noyes: Yes it is.