2018 Rotary Awards

Posted by Bill Kany on Jun 20, 2018
For those members of the club who could not make it to the meeting on June 20, 2018 here is the transcript of the awards I presented excluding the Public Sector Award and one Paul Harris Award because those people were not at the meeting.  Thanks to the members of the club who used some form of deception to get our recipients to the meeting.
At the outset I want to thank all the Rotarians who took the time to suggest some incredibly worthy candidates for these awards.  Your input to the committee was invaluable and all of this year’s winners came from your suggestions. 
Each year we give out our Public, private, humanitarian and vocational service awards either to club members or to individuals or organizations outside the club whose acts of kindness, generosity and caring help to make our communities and the world a little better.  Year in and year out I can assure you that most of our recipients have not been people looking for recognition, and in fact, most of them would prefer to keep doing what they do outside of the limelight.  Our club, however, feels that our award recipients deserve a resounding thank you for their good works and it is our hope that by acknowledging the wonderful things these folks do we will inspire others to get involved.
The Private Sector Award is awarded to a citizen whose good works have been performed independently of their employment usually in the private sector. Recipients work for the public good, outside of his or her employment. An example of a past recipient would be a building contractor who works towards helping the hungry through setting up a self-supporting meal program.
Read names of  Past Winners
2014 Leo P. Menard, Jr.
2015  Leon Chick
2016 Andy Greif
2017 The Esther Residence
            Our private award winner this year is someone who has very quietly helped hundreds of people through countless acts of kindness.  Her efforts have included soliciting food items to give families food for Christmas.  She has helped feed an incredible number of families at Thanksgiving by seeking donations.  Mind you, this person is doing this without a large organization like Rotary helping her.  In 2010 this former school employee started a program called “Locker of Love” to accept donations of school supplies, snacks, clothing and hygiene products for students who needed that kind of help.  That program has provided badly needed items to 100s of Biddeford school kids over the last 8 years.
The person who nominated this recipient said: “Although she has given a lot, she has leveraged her heart and her compassion to facilitate others to give.  She has always given thanks to those that gave while protecting the identities of those she has given to. Her accomplishments are remarkable and have made a real difference in peoples’ lives.”
This individual is a shining example of the fact that one person can truly make a difference and her quiet generosity deserves our thanks.  We do so by giving this year's Biddeford Saco Rotary Club Private Sector Award to Laurie Bruce.
The Humanitarian Award is awarded to a citizen, private or public, who has done exceptional work to further the good of humanity in the community. Past Recipients include a nurse who set up a hospice program in the area.
Read names of Past Winners
2014 Paul Deschambault
2015  Dennis P. Robillard
2016  James Godbout
2017 Jim McAllister
            The person who suggested this year’s humanitarian award winner wrote:  “It is one thing to have a job, a career, it is another to have a vocation and to let something be such an integral part of your life.  She feeds the hungry, clothes the unclothed and loves the unloved.” 
            We have all heard the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  The organization in Biddeford known as Seeds of Hope has attempted to capture that proverb and use it to help people in our area.  Their mission statement says “ Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center collaborates with our local communities and neighbors to find meaningful solutions to poverty, isolation and despair in a welcoming and compassionate environment.”  As an example, one of their recent programs is to loan people money for their rental security deposits so they can have a place to live.  It is a simple but ingenious way to get people back on their feet and help them grow their self-esteem.
            Organizations like Seeds of Hope do not happen by themselves.  They need leaders with vision and a commitment to the cause.  This year’s Humanitarian Award winner is the driving force behind Seeds of Hope and a person who has clearly dedicated her life to helping those who need a hand.
            In recognition of committing her life to help others the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club is proud to give year's Humanitarian Award to
Reverend Shirley Bowen
The Vocational Service Award is awarded to a citizen, private or public, who has done exceptional work to promote vocational education and vocational programs.
Read names of Past Winners
2014 Marcel Bertrand
2015  Kenneth Crepeau
2016  Thornton Academy
2017  Biddeford City Council
            When I think of the vocational service award my tendency is to focus on those people or organizations who promote the trades and other vocations.  Clearly that is a narrow view of the concept of vocational service.  Vocational service is also about helping people of all ages find their vocation, to identify their passion or skill and make it a career.  That can be in the trades but it does not have to be.
            This year’s Vocational Service Award winner is a Transition Coordinator.  What is that you say.  I am told that a transition coordinator has the goal of creating  relevant, realistic and career ready opportunities for students.  This particular individual took that concept and in her first year turned it into a thriving support system for students.  She works with her school colleagues to identify and create a student’s desired post-secondary blueprint, by implementing individual transition activities.  She works with Thornton’s Career Center to maximize the potential of students with disabilities to network within the community and garner career-ready skills to help each student achieve their transitional goals.  In other words she is teaching them how to fish and she is helping those students to find jobs they can get excited about.  That is truly vocational service.
The person who suggested our winner wrote:  “she is responsible for guiding students in the realm of functional life skills.  There are no boundaries to what she incorporates in preparing special needs students for life.  She has a knack for seeing each student as an individual with their own challenges and strengths, then, applies those qualities to appropriate matches she cultivates within the community”.
In addition, this individual was instrumental in starting TA’s Unified Basketball team and is one of the team’s coaches.  Again, I will read this description of what has to be one of the greatest programs being offered by many high schools in Maine:  “Unified basketball is a co-ed team that combines athletes (students with developmental disabilities) with partners (students without disabilities who help sustain the flow of the games).  Together they make a great team, both on and off the court.  As an audience member, it is heartwarming to witness the pride from every player on the court.  Not to mention, the smiles beaming from the parents. [This year’s award winner] is responsible for bringing complete joy to a gym where for one hour, everyone feels like a winner.”
            She has only been at Thornton for a short period of time but her commitment and dedication to the students is truly inspirational and worthy of our thanks.  And while I am going to sound like I’m 100 years old, the fact is that us old folks find lots of things to complaim about young people, but the fact remains that people like this year’ Vocational Award Winner can teach us all that really caring about what we do can make a huge difference.
            This year’s Vocational Service Award goes to Thornton Academy’s Kristy Kendrick.
            Back in 2007 our Club decided to honor all of the dedication and contributions of Carl and Earl Goodwin by creating an award in their honor.  In my opinion it is truly the highest honor our club can give to one of its past or present members.
Read names of Past Winners
2014 Julie Villemaire
2015 Jim McAllister
2016 Paul H. Deschambault
2017 Karen Chasse
            When this award was created in honoring Carl and Earl Goodwin and all that they have done for the club and the community, the idea was that it would go to long term Rotarians in or out of the club who over their tenure have done a lot to make our club great while working to address the needs of our area.  There is a lot to be said for longevity but there is a lot more to be said for unlimited caring and generosity.  There is a lot more to be said for putting one’s heart and soul into everything one does to a point at which we have to wonder how does this person do it all.
            This year’s Goodwin Award is given to someone who has been consistently nominated for all 4 awards we give out (though I have found it hard to figure out the Public Service angle), but I suspect receiving this award will be the most meaningful to this individual.
            It should be no surprise that this year’s Goodwin Outstanding Service Award goes to Jim Godbout.
Paul Harris Recipients
Paul Harris Awards are arguably the highest distinctions that can be given to Rotarians by Rotary.  Our Club has had a practice of recognizing deserving members and non-members for their work in and outside the Club.  Each past Paul Harris recipient has been very worthy and this year we have three more equally ntable winners of the award.
In no particular order:
Sometimes being a good Rotarian is as much about what one does outside the Club as it is about what one does in the Club.  While this Rotarian has been a strong member of our Red Ribbon committee and a consistent volunteer, the role this person plays in our community so promotes the ideals of Rotary that it is those efforts that make this person a worthy recipient of a Paul Harris award.  Her enthusiasm and caring leadership of an organization that improves the lives of so many children is truly an inspiration.  Her every day commitment to providing healthy alternatives to kids is what Rotary and our Red Ribbon Committee are all about.
Based on all of that I am pleased to announce that our next Paul Harris Award goes to Bronwyn Barnett.
Our last Paul Harris Award is given to a consistent volunteer and a Board member of the Club.  Having said that, however, one of the things that has made our club stand out over the years has been the fact that it is a welcoming, fun group of people.  Many of our meetings are simply a chance to laugh and talk about something other than work.  There are club members who are really good at making everyone feel welcome and who are good at making people laugh.  Generosity can take many forms and this person is generous in a number of ways including sharing smiles, handshakes and quick little jabs that make our club one of those places people want to go.
Our last Paul Harris Award is given to a really nice guy and a sharp dresser, Matt Simmons.
Thanks Bill
Brian Dallaire presented the following Rotarians with Multiple Paul Harris Fellow Awards:
Paul Harris Fellow x 2 to Jim Godbout (sapphire stone)
Paul Harris Fellow x 2 to Joe Moreshead (sapphire stone)
Paul Harris Fellow x 3 to Denis Elie (sapphire stone)
Paul Harris Fellow x 6 to Carl Goodwin (ruby stone)
President Jackson also presented the following Rotarians with Service Above Self Awards:
Fausto – Fausto deserved the service above self-award for his dedication to the new annual fundraiser for the club with the TV auction falling through with Time Warner.  Fausto went above and beyond anyone else for that fundraiser in helping us fundraise almost as many dollars as we did with the auction. 
Susan Gajewski – There is no job harder in the club than the treasurer job.  Not only did Susan take on this role but she helped clean up the books to make it more streamlined for the board members and the accountant.  This is one job that doesn’t get recognized by the club and deserves a ton of credit.
Conrad Welzel – Not only did Conrad run another successful Wine Tasting event this year but he worked as my Guest Speaker invite list throughout the year.  This is not an easy task and we had a successful year with a lot of great guest speakers.
Karen Chasse – One person who has been under the radar this year but is everyone’s “Go To” person is Karen.  Without the help of Karen, our major fundraiser would not have been as successful as it was.  She is the person that everyone always turns to when they need help with something.
President Jackson also announced this year’s Rotarian of the Year:
            Joe Moreshead!
Joe – There was not another person in the club that deserved the Rotarian of the Year as much as Joe did.  Not only did he volunteer for many different committees at the beginning of the year but he stepped into the President role when Bernice needed someone to sub in for her this year. 
Congratulations to all of the award recipients!!
Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club