Leo and Dawn Pullar were officially introduced to the Town of Hartford during the 2016 Town Meeting Cycle. Leo, Hartford’s new town manager, spoke positively and succinctly via microphone to event attendees in the high school gym. His wife, Dawn, circulated among the lunch tables in the back, falling easily into conversation about kids, packing, and the political logistics of her new town. She has been at every public meeting and event since that first day, engaged in the workings of the town, and engaging all of Hartford with her quick smile and sincere interest in its citizens.
Read the interview with Hartford’s Ambassador, the funny, adventurous, and supportive Dawn Pullar, here:
You had lived most recently in Virginia. When did you arrive in Vermont, and settle in your home?
Leo and I closed on our home in Quechee on June 1, 2016. Leo’s last day of active service in the Army was on July 9, 2016. He officially began work as the Hartford Town Manager two days later.
How did you and Leo meet?
Leo had just begun his third year at West Point. My friends and I went to a dance at West Point and Leo was one of the first people I met. We talked and danced all evening. We just hit it off! We dated for just over three months when we became engaged. I knew West Point meant Military, but I didn't actually know what that meant. I tell people that I'm glad I didn't know what I was in for, because I might have run in the opposite direction. The Army life was full of adventure. We really enjoyed the experience.
You and Leo have a daughter who relocated as well?
Yes, Kayla. She's 26 years old and is enjoying Vermont. She loves the weather and all of the wildlife. She has her degree in Biology with a specialization in Zoology and is currently working at Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society as an Animal Caretaker.
Which is your favorite village?
How about favorite selectboard member?
I know I was asked this question in jest, but I have to say how impressed that I am by the Town of Hartford Selectboard. To think that these men and women give of their time and their talents for the betterment of this Town is so impressive! Just think of what would happen if no one stepped up to do this job.
Of course, I would like to say that I absolutely have a favorite Town Manager! I am inspired every day by Leo’s commitment to service of this Town, just as I was of his service to our Country.
You attend many, if not all, of the public meetings and events in Hartford. How do your involvement and contributions here differ from those as a military spouse?
I believe that my involvement in Hartford is very similar to my involvement as a Military Spouse. I fully support my husband in his role as Town Manager. I try to immerse myself as much as possible into the community. After all, this is now our community and if I can help in anyway, I definitely want to be involved. I enjoy going to the selectboard meetings. I figure that, as a citizen, I will form my opinions, and I would like them to be informed opinions.
Hartford has so many wonderful events. I am honored to be able to attend as many of these as possible. We all attended the fireworks for Independence Day. What a wonderful event! I find that if Hartford has an event, they go above and beyond to make it special for all.
How are you finding the food?
We have been to most of the restaurants in Hartford. We enjoy the fact that Hartford has so many independent restaurants. There is a never ending variety of items to enjoy.
Hardest street to find in Hartford?
Any street that my GPS cannot find. I rely a great deal on my GPS. You would think that will all of the traveling that we have done, I would have a better sense of direction. I do not!
Do you have pets? Visiting wildlife?
We adopted our dog Callie from a shelter in New Mexico. She is a cute, red, sweet mutt. Since we moved to Vermont, we managed to adopt a wonderful, spunky cat. Rule of thumb, if you’re in the middle of coming up with a name for the new kitten, with your family, never leave the room! I was gone for less than five minutes and returned to find out our kitten was named Princess Leia!
Kayla has a bird. He is a sassy, Green Cheek Conure, named Bowie. And yes, that is after David Bowie.
We have seen so much wildlife since we have been in Vermont. We have had a flock of turkeys in our yard. We have seen a fox, porcupine, owls, and a bear off of Quechee Main Street. We did find that we had a very short learning curve when it comes to bears in Vermont. For almost a year we had been putting our garbage can out the night before pickup. However, and I know this won’t come as a shock to many Vermonters, in early spring we had a bear rummage through our garbage can. He made it his own personal picnic as he dragged a bag into the woods beside our house. We learned quickly.
Is there any activity you’ve taken up, that you never imagined doing, before you moved to Vermont?
I play pickleball. I had never heard of it before I got to Vermont. I really enjoy this sport.
Leo did buy all of us snow shoes for Christmas. This may become an activity for us if he manages to get me out into the snow next winter.
We did go to the Ice Fishing Tournament that the Parks and Recreation Department puts on every winter for the kids. I never imagined myself even being outside to watch an event like this one.
You come into contact with a lot of people living in a small town. Are you often recognized and approached by citizens?
When your family photo is on the cover of the Annual Town & Meeting Report, you are likely to get recognized – especially in a small town like Hartford.
I do get to speak often about town matters, but most of the time it’s just listening to people rave about the Town. If someone does have any concerns, I carry Leo’s business cards and I encourage them to contact him directly.
Do you miss the humidity?
I really am more of a heat and sun girl. However, I have found that no matter the season, Vermont is beautiful.
Share a bit of what you’re enjoying and what you’re up to.
Since we’ve been here, we’ve gone to Boston. We walked Freedom Trail and we went to a Red Sox game. We recently went up to Montreal.
I do spend most of my time enjoying the meetings and events in Hartford. I am fortunate to be able to accompany Leo to most of these so I am able to stay engaged in what is going on locally.
I volunteered for Weatherize Upper Valley, and I volunteer with Hartford Community Coalition.
Yesterday I actually had someone ask me where is the favorite place we had lived. I told her, as I have told everyone that has asked over the years, I enjoy wherever we were at the time. I believe if you miss where you were, or you're looking forward to where you are going, you miss the great things about where you are right now! This includes our move to Vermont. We are truly enjoying Vermont life and Vermont people!
Want more of Hartford Hued? Subscribe and receive an email alert when I post something new on the Daily UV.