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April 22nd, 2009


AUGUSTA – In an overflowing Hall of Flags, Governor John Baldacci presented five exceptional Maine volunteers and three outstanding organizations with the 2009 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards.

The Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards are presented annually during National Volunteer Week, the annual celebration of citizen volunteer action and the impact it has on critical needs in communities.

The awards recognize individuals and community organizations whose donation of time and leadership have made a significant difference in the quality of life for Maine residents.

The award for Outstanding Volunteer of the Year was presented to Heidi Bowden of Augusta. Ms Bowden founded and sustains the Autism Resource Fair which attracts over 800 people annually from across New England. The fair provides information and support to families, care givers, teachers, educational technicians, therapists and others touched by autism.

Jenni Ricci of Portland received the Outstanding National Service Volunteer for accomplishments during her AmeriCorps term of service with the Community Resource Corps and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland. Ricci’s work resulted in national attention for her unique approach to engaging volunteers.

The 2009 Outstanding Public Sector Volunteer is Jackie Ayotte of St. Agatha. Ms Ayotte is currently the volunteer board president of Long Lake Public Library but is also founder of the recently opened St. Agatha public library. An RSVP volunteer since 2000, Ayotte has a gift for leadership and attracting other volunteers to her vision of improved opportunities in the communities.

James Knight of Belfast was selected at the Youth Volunteer of the Year. Knight not only volunteers at the Game Loft in Belfast but also serves on its board of directors. He helped develop and implement a twelve week program that promotes youth development. His volunteer service extends beyond the Game Loft to other community organizations. Knight is an honor student at Belfast Area High School and in his junior year.

Cited for Excellence in Volunteer Administration was Steven Hurd of the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta. Hurd is Chief of Volunteer Service and has been a leader in developing programs that engage volunteers in providing services to veterans. His innovative approaches have led to national and regional recognition.

The awards presented to organizations recognize three categories of community volunteer engagement.

The Outstanding Non-Profit Award recognizes an agency that operates a high quality  volunteer program that achieves significant and meaningful results. The 2009 award was presented to Trekkers of South Thomaston and accepted by board member Frank Magrogan. Trekkers is a non-profit, outdoor-based mentoring program that connects caring adults with young people through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education.

Bayside Supermarket of Milbridge, represented by Leola Carter, was recognized with the Small Business Volunteerism Award. Nominated by the Milbridge Merchants Association, Bayside was cited for its consistent support of local volunteer programs and activities.

The Corporate Volunteerism Award was presented to Hannaford in recognition of its employees’ volunteer work, the company financial support of community initiatives, its response to community needs through programs such as “Fund a Feast,” and its consistent promotion of local events. Accepting the award for Hannaford was Beth Newlands-Campbell and Steve Caulver.

In addition, Exemplary Service awards were given to more than 60 individuals from the following towns for their service to Maine people and communities: Alexander, Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bar Harbor, Bath, Bethel, Biddeford, Bowdoinham, Booth Bay Harbor, Brunswick, Casco, Cumberland Center, Dover-Foxcroft, Edgcombe, Fort Kent, Freeport, Hallowell, Hallowell, Hampden, Harpswell, Harrington, Kennebunk, Lamoine, Lebanon, Manchester, Mapleton, Milbridge, Millinocket, Milo, North Yarmouth, Old Orchard Beach, Old Town, Orono, Orrington, Perham, Poland Springs, Portland, Raymond, Rumford, Sabattus, Saco, Shapleigh, Solon, South Paris, South Portland, Springvale, Thomaston, Topsham, Washington, Windham, Yarmouth.

Immediately after the Hall of Flags ceremony, more than 100 volunteers were recognized by Governor Baldacci at a ceremony in the atrium of the Maine Museum. Each of those individuals had contributed over 500 hours to programs scattered from Presque Isle to Winthrop to Biddeford. Their level of service resulted in their names being added to the Roll of Honor for the 2009 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.

Click here to see event pictures.

The Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards are managed by the Maine Commission for Community Service. Since 1994, the Commission has focused its efforts on building capacity and sustainability in Maine\'s volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers, raising awareness, and encouraging an ethic of service. For more information visit or