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State Service Commission Members Elect New Leaders for 2016-2018

June 23rd, 2016

AUGUSTA – The members of the Maine Commission for Community Service held their annual meeting at on June 17 and elected new leadership. The Commission is a 25-member board of governor-appointed citizens who represent nearly every facet of Maine’s volunteer and community service sector. 

john portelaJohn Portela of Brunswick was elected chair of the Commission. Portela is a sandblaster at Bath Iron Works and was appointed to the seat designated for a labor representative in 2009. As a board member, Portela has volunteered for over 25 years in United Way leadership positions at the local, state, and national levels. He also has served under four gubernatorial administrations as a citizen member of advisory boards for health and worker compensation. 

fcbCeleste Branham of Brunswick was chosen as Chair-elect of the Commission.  Branham was first appointed to the Commission in 2011. She is Vice President for Student and Community Services and Director of the Partnership for Civic Advancement at the University of Maine Farmington and holds the Commission seat reserved for a representative of higher education. In addition, Branham was, until recently, president of the Western Maine Community Action Agency for three terms, past President of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Preventing Hate, and currently serves as a member of the Board of the Fulbright Association of Maine.

davidElected as Vice-chair of the Commission was David Wihry of Bangor. Wihry is a Project Manager at the University of Maine Center on Aging which is home to Encore Leadership Corps. The Center on Aging is also sponsor of two national service programs funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service: Senior Companions and RSVP. Wihry recently joined the board of Gateway Seniors Without Walls based in Orono.


presentationDuring the meeting, Commissioners took the opportunity to thank outgoing chair, Ron Holmes of New Sharon. John Portela made the presentation and noted that Holmes commitment to keeping the strategic plan moving forward as well as his representation of Maine on national committees helped not only the Maine state service commission but the region as well. Holmes will now serve in the position of Immediate Past-Chair which is the liaison between the Commission and the Maine Volunteer Foundation.

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine’s volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers, fostering adoption of high quality volunteer management practices, raising awareness of volunteer sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy for addressing community issues.

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