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Maine's First Lady Marks Volunteer Week By Presenting the Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism

April 17th, 2012

First Lady Ann LePage with award recipients

AUGUSTA - First Lady Anne LePage presided over the 26th annual presentation of the Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism. The seven winners and five honorees have had an impact in communities from Lincoln to North Berwick. 

The Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteer are presented each year during National Volunteer Week, the annual celebration of citizen volunteer action. This award program focuses attention on businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals whose service is considered a model for others to emulate. The winners are selected because their efforts and leadership have made a significant difference in the quality of life for Maine residents.

Janice Bilodeau of Auburn received the award for Volunteer of the Year. For almost 27 years, Ms Bilodeau has been volunteering at Central Maine Medical Center in either the Rehab Unit or Oncology Unit. In addition to helping discharge patients and delivering lab specimens and x-rays, Ms. Bilodeau sits with patients who are dying or are critically or chronically ill on weekends or during the night.

Elisabeth "Lis" Lohmueller of South Thomaston received the National Service Volunteer for accomplishments during her term of AmeriCorps service with the Great Strides. Lis' work strengthening Trekkers' volunteer program has increased volunteer and student participation by 30%.  She also expanded her role to help with outreach and communications.

Julia Brown of Brunswick was selected at the Youth Volunteer of the Year.  As part of her service-learning course, Julia created a pen pal project that helps alleviate eighth grade students' concerns about transitioning to high school and used Skype to bring together students from Brunswick and Siberia. Outside of school, she is a member of the Youth Advocacy Program working on issues of substance abuse prevention, a Board member of People Plus, a student liaison to the local school board, and a volunteer intern at Mid Coast United Way.

Donna Vigue of Dexter received the Outstanding Service-learning Practitioner.  For the past 11 years, Ms. Vigue commuted to Lincoln where she was Director of Curriculum at RSU 67 which covers Lincoln, Chester, and Mattawamkeag. Her tireless guidance and coordination resulted in district-wide adoption of service-learning. Donna helped teachers better understand the quality indicators of service-learning, gained school board support, and reached out to community partners to form mutually beneficial relationships. She guided students in over 100 service-learning projects, helping them master academics while contributing to the community.

A special Volunteer Hero recognition was given to Laurianne Cormier of Lewiston for her second career dedicated to serving her community. After nearly 30 years working in a local shoe factory, Ms. Cormier retired and began volunteering with St. Mary's Health System in 1977.  Over the past 35 years, she has volunteered in every section of health system and contributed more than 18,500 hours. 

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

The School District Excellence in Service-learning Award recognizes excellence in K-12 school district wide service-learning implementation.  The 2012 award was presented to Sanford School Department.  The district's service-learning goal is "when the community has a problem it looks to the schools and the students to help solve that problem."  Throughout Sanford, students applied their academic work to community issues and tackled water quality, health,  nutrition, and the need for fresh vegetables in a local food bank.

The Outstanding Non-Profit Volunteer Program Award recognizes an agency that operates a high quality volunteer program that achieves significant and meaningful results. The 2012 award was presented to Trekkers of South Thomaston and accepted by Program Manager Emily Carver. 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.

The Corporate Volunteerism Award recognizes a corporation (more than 100 employees) that demonstrates volunteer leadership and/or whose employees' volunteer service significantly improves the quality of life in the community.  The 2012 award was presented to Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in recognition of company's culture of giving which supports employees' volunteering and provides financial support to community organizations in which employees volunteer.

Also at the ceremony, the names of 477 individuals that were inducted to the Volunteer Roll of Honor were on display.  During the past year, each of these individuals contributed over 500 hours to programs scattered from Presque Isle to Farmington to Biddeford. The 2012 Volunteer Roll of Honor list may be viewed at www.VolunteerMaine.org.

In this time of fiscal austerity, the award program was made possible through support from United Insurance, Bangor Daily News, Unum, Aramark, General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works, CocaCola, Northeast Delta Dental, Cabot Creamery, and American Awards.

The Maine Commission for Community Service manages the Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism on behalf of the Office of the Governor.  The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy to resolve local problems.  For more information, visit www.maineservicecommission.gov.

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Contact:             
Pam Zeutenhorst
Maine Commission for Community Service
19 Union St, 38 State House Station, Augusta 04333 
207.624.6242 
Pam.zeutenhorst@maine.gov