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Maine’s First Lady Presents 2013 Governor’s Awards For Service And Volunteerism

April 25th, 2013

AUGUSTA - First Lady Ann LePage presided over the annual presentation of the Governor's Awards for Service and Volunteerism. The eight winners and eight honorees have had an impact in communities across the state. 

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, 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.

volunteer of the yearJohn Eckert of Hallowell received the award for Volunteer of the Year his leadership capabilities and dedication as the "Lead Packer" for Spectrum Generations Meals on Wheels program.  Mr. Eckert arrives at 4:30 a.m., before staff, to accept delivers and guides other volunteers through the process that feeds 310 homebound seniors per day.  Mr. Eckert retired as a Veterans Administration Benefits Program Coordinator in 2010 and before that spent 26 years in the Armed Forces.

youth volunteer of the yearMeghan Charest of Falmouth was selected at the Youth Volunteer of the Year.  Currently a freshman at Falmouth High School, Ms. Charest worked tirelessly to provide fresh produce for the Falmouth Food Pantry.  In 2012, she petitioned a local civic group to donate permanent space for a garden. Ms. Charest other volunteer activities include being an active member of the Falmouth Service Club and participating in relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy.

volunteer administrator of the yearLisa Park Laflin of New Vineyard received the Excellence in Volunteer Administration Award. Ms. Laflin is Executive Director of the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area. She understands the impact volunteers have on community and that each person has an innate drive to make a difference, no matter what shoes they wear. Ms. Laflin serves as convener of the Franklin Volunteer Network.

 national service volunteer of the yearKatherine Stitham of Cape Elizabeth was selected as the Outstanding National Service Volunteer for accomplishments during her term of AmeriCorps service with the Goodwill Industries of Northern New England's Multilingual Leadership Corps Program at Portland Housing Authority. Ms. Stitham serves at the Study Center Coordinator at the Riverton Study Center engages youth in service projects and recruits community volunteers to work in the study center with youth.

outstanding public sector volunteerDeborah Palman of Aurora received the Outstanding Public Sector Volunteer.  Ms. Palman co-founder and current President of the only volunteer K9 SAR (Search and Rescue) unit in Maine that averages 25 searches a year. She provides overarching leadership to 16 SAR units with 120 personnel providing technical rescue, ground search, and wilderness evacuation of wounded individuals.

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

outstanding nonprofit volunteer programThe Outstanding Non-Profit Volunteer Program Award recognizes an agency that operates a high quality volunteer program that achieves significant and meaningful results. The 2013 award was presented to Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. The Friends has 150 volunteers that contributed 8600 hours of service to support park operations and education programs.  The Friends also conduct fundraising activities to ensure the park continues to grow and increase its ability to meet the need for education about Maine's native wildlife and habitats.

corporate volunteerism 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 2013 award was presented to Kennebunk Savings in recognition of company's culture of giving which supports employees' volunteering and provides financial support to nonprofit organizations in the communities they serve.

small business volunteerismThe Small Business Volunteerism Award recognizes a small business (fewer than 100 employees) that demonstrates volunteer leadership and/or whose employees' volunteer service significantly improves the quality of life in the community.  The 2013 award was presented to Carefree Properties Services of Milbridge. This family run business provides free mowing services for non-profit organizations and churches in addition to the owners actively participating in local civic groups and merchants association.

Exemplary Service Awards were presented to Diane Davison of Portland; Dorothy Blanchette of Falmouth; June Messier of Wells; Kaley Littlefield of Old Orchard Beach; Shelby Greene of Columbia Falls; Benjamin Roberts of Litchfield; Molly Haley of Portland; and Seniors Plus of Lewiston.

gsa logoAlso at the ceremony, the names of 564 individuals that were inducted to the Volunteer Roll of Honor were on display.  During the past year, each of these individuals contributed 500 hours or more to programs scattered from Caribou to Farmington to York. The 2013 Volunteer Roll of Honor list may be viewed at

In this time of fiscal austerity, the award program was made possible through support from Bangor Daily News, Northeast Delta Dental, L.L.Bean, Unum, IDEXX Laboratories, General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works, Northeast Delta Dental, and Cabot Creamery.

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. 

EVENT PHOTOS can be viewed using this LINK.

FMI Contact:
Pam Zeutenhorst
Maine Commission for Community Service