2010 Chamber awards
To the Editor:
The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to take the opportunity to recognize a business that has made significant strides in the past year, deserving community servants, a forest products entrepreneur, and excellent employees who have made extraordinary contributions to their workplaces.
On Friday, May 7, the 41st Annual Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, sponsored by W.J. Wheeler & Co., Inc, Oxford Networks, and Sunday River Resort, will be held at the Grand Summit Hotel at Sunday River. Cost is $38 per person for a complete buffet dinner or $325 for a business sponsoring a table for 8 (with added marketing and PR benefits). For reservations, call the chamber office, 824-2282, no later than Monday, May 4. Payment options include credit cards, check, or cash, and prepayment is required. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. accompanied by a silent auction, featuring dozens of items donated by chamber members and friends. The dinner will be served promptly at 7 p.m.
Chosen by the Awards Committee, we are pleased to announce and congratulate the following businesses and individuals for their selection as recipients this year.
Norway Savings Bank is being presented the “2010 Business of the Year Award.” They are being cited as an excellent place to work, for their generous support of many events and causes in the communities across Maine where they have branches, and for their innovative approach to marketing and branding their business. The support of Seth Westcott as an extraordinary individual and a Maine champion — and utilizing that message in their advertising, is an example of this.
The “2010 Forest Products Award” will be given to Arlan Jodrey. Arlan owns and manages more than 250 acres of tree farms in western Maine and has been named Tree Farmer of the Year for Maine as well as runner-up in New England by the American Tree Farm Association. He has devoted much of his life to public service through his eight years in the Maine Legislature and 19 years on the Board of Selectmen in Bethel.
Arlene Greenleaf, the long-time and very devoted former director of the Bethel Emergency Ambulance and Rescue Service will receive the “2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.” Arlene’s exemplary service started in 1972, with Greenleaf’s Ambulance which became BEARS in 1975 — and she served continually until a serious and nearly life-threatening ambulance accident in 2007 ended her active career. After a year of rest and healing, Arlene is continuing to support the organization as secretary.
Al Cressy, a man who has an inexhaustible zest for community service, will be presented with the “2010 Henry H. Hastings Award for Citizenship.” Al not only volunteers but takes on leadership roles including the Bethel Historical Society where he has served on and chaired several committees, as well as being the chair of the board of trustees for several years — leading the Society to a stronger position for accreditation through two lengthy, in-depth studies and numerous other tasks. He chairs the Bethel Planning Board. He has served the Chamber in various areas, including as president of the Board. He has also been very active with AMC, Mahoosuc Land Trust, West Parish Congregational Church (treasurer).
Darlene Ginsberg, co-owner of the Perennial Inn, will be presented the “President’s Award” for her devotion and service to the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce. Darlene has served on the chamber’s Board for nearly six years; and she is the immediate past president of the Board of Directors. Donating so many hours to chamber work, she has served on the Marketing and the Triathlon committees, on the Business Relations Task Force, and has been a tremendous help on many other chamber projects.
The “2010 Public Service Award” will be presented to Christen Mason of Bethel. Christen has been an employee of the town for 17 years, and is a Lifetime Certified Town Clerk. She is a past member of the Maine Town and City Clerks Association, serving on their legislative policy committee. Christen was born and raised in Bethel, graduating from Telstar High School in 1983. She is a native daughter, serving her community well.
Susan Jennings is the perfect recipient of the “2010 Bethel Area Non-Profit Award” and her contributions to many Oxford County non-profits and the area’s youth have been significant. She is the co-creator of the Mahoosuc Kid’s Association. Being a prolific grant writer and a model collaborator, she created and solidified the partnership between the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Pine Tree 4-H Foundation and the former Maine Conservation School to form the new and energized University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond. She is well respected among all her peers as one who refuses to take personal credit for her deep and meaningful accomplishments.
This year’s “Rising Star Entrepreneur Award” goes to Sara Hemeon, the founder and owner of Elements Gallery on Main Street, Bethel. Sara is a talented artist in her own right — but is also able to transfer those skills to others in her popular classes. She has created an incredible gallery, featuring the works of dozens of area artists and it is an absolutely must-visit on Main Street, in the Philbrook Place. She is a wonderful example to others in her age group that hard work, determination and creativity can lead to success.
The chamber presents Employee of the Year Awards in four categories. Receiving the “2010 Education Award” is Victoria Meisner, a 39-year veteran employee of SAD44. Mrs. Meisner has made a profoundly positive impact on generations of students at both Andover and Woodstock Elementary schools, as well as with her peers and younger members of the staff! Kristy York, a beloved and capable employee of the River View Resort is being presented the “2010 Hospitality Employee of the Year.” Kristy is cited in her nomination as a true self starter, who is willing to lend a hand wherever it is needed. Her official duties are in maintenance — which she excels at, but her employers, Chad and Rene McGrew, say that she is great at all facets of resort operations. Receiving the “2010 Retail & Service Employee of the Year” is Katie Manzer Houghton who is employed with chamber member, Dixfield Discount Fuel. Katie has been described as a spectacular employee with deep caring for the customers. Despite the tough economy and many customers with great need, Katie spends the time needed to try to help them to the best of her ability. She is adored by her co-workers and those who she helps. Caroline Ochtera from Sunday River Resort will be presented the “2010 Ski Industry Employee of the Year Award.” In his nomination of Caroline, Managing Director Dana Bullen speaks to the integral role she has played in the marketing team’s success. He also praises her for the positive relationship she has with the local community — specifically the chamber and the Mahoosuc Arts Council. Her enthusiasm, dedication and passion for her work has led to this honor.
The chamber presents three Telstar High School students with awards. John Percy Pierce, son of Janette Pierce, is receiving the “Taste of Bethel Award” in his pursuit of post-secondary training in Culinary Arts. John has been accepted to both CMCC and the White Mountains Community College. Two students will be presented with “Student Citizenship Awards”: Roxanne Leigh Jewell, daughter of Bruce and Judith Smith of Bethel and Seth James Ryozo Shimimura, son of Rodney and Dawn Welch of West Paris. These three students were selected by the staff at Telstar High School and have been cited in exemplifying the highest qualities of school and community citizenship.
A special award is being presented this year in memory of Rocky Freda, a man that was taken from us this past summer. In its inaugural year, Jay Milot will be presented the “Rocky Freda Memorial Award.” Jay went to work as a snowmobile guide for Rocky and Lisa at Sun Valley Sports and Guide Services when they first opened in 1995 and continued for many winters in that capacity. Summers found Jay working for the White Mountain National Forest but he took time off to help Lisa lead a large youth group during the summer of 2000 when Rocky broke his ankle. Jay is actively working to help realize one of Rocky’s dreams — developing a launch for float boats in Gilead. The chamber is pleased to keep Rocky’s memory alive with this award.
“Volunteer of the Year,” as well as another special award, will also be presented that evening. The emcee of the event will be Dr. David Murphy of Bethel.
Once again, all community members are welcome to RSVP by May 3 to 824-2282, to reserve a seat at this wonderful celebration.
Executive Director, Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce