More than 140 people turned out to celebrate the nominees and the award winners at the recent Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce’s 56th annual Community Awards.
The evening’s theme centered around the importance of community for the nominees, the award recipients, Chamber director Patricia Royall, keynote speaker Yellow Light Breen, and Sen. Angus King. Each award recipient had an opportunity to speak and share their thoughts and feelings about living and working in the Boothbay Harbor region. The common message was that it is the people, the natural beauty of the region, and the sense of community.
Royall announced the Chamber has been shifting a portion of its focus on economic development issues facing the region, such as workforce development, adult and vocational education, affordable housing, and regional transportation. The Chamber has spearheaded several of these initiatives and is collaborating with business leaders and community organizations such as the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, LincolnHealth, and the Joint Economic Development Committee to help move some of these initiatives forward.
The evening’s keynote speaker, Breen, noted that “geography is not destiny. There are many regions in Maine that would kill to have the challenges and opportunities facing the Boothbay region rather their own! Growth is not a dirty word – in fact, the only way to preserve what we most value in a changing world is to evolve and change, to grow both deeper roots and wider branches.
“But you can only seize those opportunities if you appreciate and build on your assets and mobilize a diverse set of leaders who will come together with civility to persist in a common direction for a long period of time. Leadership is not only a big thing, it’s almost everything!” he said.
Breen encouraged the community to stay focused on investing in its people. The No. 1 challenge statewide and in the region is the workforce – both attracting enough people and having the right skills and education. Even while building on strong historical assets and natural environment, there is the vital importance of making headway on those issues of effective leadership, strong community, and a commitment to civility.
King spoke about how much he admired Sen. John McCain and encouraged attendees to watch the new documentary “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls.” The message of the documentary is bipartisanship, which McCain feels is something of a failing art form but also resonates in communities where working together is so critical to positive outcomes and forward movement.
King was on hand to pass out the awards to each winner.
The 56th annual Community Award winners in each category are as follows:
Small Business of the Year Award: Eventide Epicurean Specialties
Large Business of the Year Award: Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Most Notable Nonprofit: Boothbay Region Community Resources Council
Community Service & Improvement Award: The Community Center
Excellence in Entrepreneurship: The Thistle Inn
Citizen of the Year Award: Holly Stover
Lifetime Achievement Award: Boothbay Harbor Police Chief Bob Hasch
Congratulations and thank you to all the nominees and award winners. These individuals and businesses go above and beyond in selfless generosity and service to others and make the community and the Boothbay Harbor region such a special place to live.
The mission of the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce is to promote a positive business climate, by focusing on advocacy, access, and leadership. For more information or to become a member, call 633-2353.