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Super Senior: Tom Hart - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Tom Hart

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WILLISTON, Vt. -

A very powerful man lives in Vermont. It's true. He doesn't hold office or run companies, but Tom Hart has inspired hundred in the gym and in the classroom. He's this week's Super Senior.

Just above the town of Hinesburg, Tom Hart has 15 acres of serenity.

"You come up here and it's like you close the door to the world," Tom said.

He loves working on his property, especially chopping and stacking wood.

But a back injury in 1998 almost put a stop to that activity. A doctor had a suggestion. The doctor told Tom to strengthen his core muscles. It's obvious he took his advice.

Four times a week the 71-year-old comes to the gym; it's his passion.

Tom is a sports guy, either playing or coaching. Competition is in his veins and March 15 in Massachusetts, an event in weightlifting made his day.

"So I knew I was in the ballpark," said Tom.

He broke a record. The event was Strict Curling. The rules are you can't be more than 12 inches from the wall and the knees and arms have to be straight.

Curling 110 pounds would be a new world record for his weight and his 70-74 age group.

"I'm looking, oh my God! But the point is, I just felt a rush of adrenaline," said Tom.

He broke the record without a struggle, but he wasn't done there. Tom decided to go for 120 pounds.

Tom said it wasn't easy, but the crowd motivated him along with the compliments.

Tom has strong roots in Hinesburg, he was born there and he was also a teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School.

He began his career at CVU the first year it opened in the 60s. After a few years of teaching he realized some students were falling through the cracks, so he started Life Program in 1972 for at-risk kids to learn life skills like how to balance a checkbook to dressing for a job interview.

"So probably about two or three weeks, after I was in the class, the textbooks went into the closet and we started talking life," said Tom.

Some weighty and controversial issues like the use of condoms were discussed. The class continued even after he retired.

Now he's at the gym four days a week. Tom received some advice from his trainer, Rachel Rubin.

"He's amazing. I can't believe he just broke a national record," said Rubin. "Those guns of his huh?  At 71.  Yeah, I asked him if he had a son," she said.

The warrior of weights is actually pretty shy.

But it's quiet determination that has powered his way to the top.

He and his wife Jean have three children. Tom said if his curling record is broken, he would try to reclaim it.
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