2014-12-19 / Front Page

Time to cast votes for Great Person

It’s time to vote for the Post’s Great Person Award.

Each year, readers choose one person they think has made our communities a special place to live. There are no qualifications for the Great Person Award – it’s simply to honor those who make their community better.

The award is meant to be a thank you for all they do during the year. The winner will be interviewed for a story in the Kennebunk Post.

A ballot of everyone nominated is on page 11.

Voting will end at noon, Friday, Jan. 2 and the winner will be announced in the following weeks.

The Post will accept printed ballots (or photo copies) only through Jan. 2. Ballots should be mailed or dropped off to Kennebunk Post, 1 York St., Biddeford, ME 04005.

No emailed ballots will be accepted. Here are the nominees: Kennebunk High School wrestling team nominates Roger Hanson for the Great Person Award. “Roger is a World War II veteran who volunteers countless hours with boys youth sports at the middle school and high school. He is a fixture on the football field at Kennebunk High School acting as a volunteer coach for the boys’ varsity and junior varsity football teams. When football season ends, you will see him working with the wrestling teams at KHS and MSK. He is known for his word of the day, encouraging the boys to expand their vocabulary and knowledge and touting the importance of education. His kind guidance is invaluable. He is respected and revered by the boys on the teams as a leader and role model. He is a wonderful man and very deserving of the honor of being named a Great Person.”

Al and Bobbi Searles nominate Barbara Weeman as a Great Person for 2014. “Barbara is tireless in her efforts to help those in need in Kennebunk. She has the ability to move obstacles and get the correct help to those who need it. Be that food, heat, clothes or whatever might arise for many who have suffered not only material damages, but health-related ones as well. Working closely with her on some things these past few years I can say without reservation that this lady is one of the outstanding citizens of Kennebunk, and we would be the lesser without her.”

Wayne Brockway nominates Geraldine Waterhouse “for her generous donation to the town of an endowed community center/ice rink, creating joy for generations to come.”

Brian Fox nominates Father Tom Murphy, of St. Martha Church. “He is so helpful and kind to everyone.”

Bob and Brandon Hall nominate Doug Spurling. “He does lots of fundraising for various nonprofit organizations; one every month that he donates to. He also donates lots of company funds to these nonprofits. He and his team are great role models for everyone, especially local youth. They create a positive and uplifting exercise environment for all people. They get results for all people. I have been going to Spurling for two years and love it there, it’s my favorite place to go.”

Cynthia Walker nominates Stephen Spofford. “ Stephen has worked tirelessly to preserve the town’s heritage, foster community education in history and art, and encourage volunteerism through his work with South Congregational Church; as president of the board at the Brick Store Museum (leading the museum through financial instability in the early 2000s to become a sustainable community center today); and now as Kennebunk’s town historian, keeping record of current events and occurrences so that future generations will know what Kennebunk was like in the 2010s.

Leslie Lindgren nominates the Kennebunk Community Garden Committee for the 2014 Great Person Award. “The KCGC is an official committee of the town of Kennebunk with 11 members from the community. The committee has been in existence since 2008. Over the years, there have been a few changes in members, but this year especially the committee has done some fantastic work to supply just picked fresh produce to the Church Community Outreach Services Friday morning food pantry and the York County Shelter Program every week from May until late October. The KCGC oversees two gardens. One garden is located on property owned jointly by the town and the Animal Welfare Society at the end of Holland Road in West Kennebunk. Approximately two-thirds of this garden is divided into individual plots and rented to area residents to grow their own produce. The other 1/3 of this garden is dedicated to the Maine Harvest for Hunger, a program in partnership with the University of Maine Extension Service. The second garden the KCGC maintains is behind the Park Street School Apartments. It is a raised bed garden and we are working with the town on making it completely handicap accessible. We currently have 37 raised beds that were fully rented out to residents of the Park Street apartments and some neighbors. When a person rents a garden plot, the renter agree to volunteer either six or 12 hours, depending on the size of the plot, to work that needs to be done in the garden, usually in the Harvest for Hunger section of the garden. So on harvest days, we could have anywhere from six to 25 people show up to harvest, wash, weigh, organize and deliver produce to the Community Outreach Services food pantry on Friday morning. In the past, the annual amount of produce donated was typically approximately 1,500 pounds. We were especially pleased with last year’s total of 2,046 pounds. This year, the committee donated a whopping total of 4,112 pounds of wonderfully fresh produce to the food pantry and the shelter program. That’s over two tons of food. That was almost 10 percent of the total amount of produce donated in York County from other Harvest for Hunger gardens. The total amount of food is very impressive, but what is most important for me to share is the unabashed dedication the KCGC members have toward fulfilling their roles of meeting time, overseeing, organizing, educating, planting, maintaining, weeding, harvesting and coordinating the two community gardens we have in Kennebunk. We meet monthly almost year-round, and twice a month during growing season. Many of the committee members volunteer well over 100 to 200 hours per person per growing season to the community garden. This wonderful group of committee members are the most incredibly passionately committed group of individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Committee members are MaryLiz Baker, Dom Cacciola, Steve Doughty, Sarah Downs, Gus Favreau, Leo Hallen, Harry and Michelle Ruth, Barbie Rummler and brand-new member Rona Klein. I can only name the committee members here, but there are also many others who rent garden plots in the community gardens and are with us as we are building community one garden at a time.”

Brian Fox nominates Robert Welch, Fitness Nut House, Kennebunk. “He is so, so helpful to everyone in the gym.”

Brian Fox nominates Marian S., cashier at Hannaford, Kennebunk. “So, so helpful and a great, great person and smile.”

Patricia Dow nominates Judy Barrett, Kennebunkport town nurse. “She is a big asset to the people of this town. She goes above and beyond her duties. She is there when you call. The community is a better place with her in it.”

Paula Reid nominates Sheila Matthews-Bull. “Her dedication, hours spent on public relations for Prelude and the surrounding towns, selectmen and conservation trust.”

Brian Fox nominates Sammy H. server at Alisson’s, Kennebunkport. “So helpful to everyone and does a great, great job.”

Brian Fox nominates Marinna, teller at Kennebunk Savings Financial Center, Kennebunk. “So helpful and great, great service. The best.”

Brian Fox nominates Daryl Conant, Fitness Nut House, Kennebunk. “He is so helpful to the town and polite. He makes everyone happy.”

Brian Fox nominates Kristina Birthisel, library assistant, Kennebunk Free Library. “She is so helpful, polite and kind. Please award her.”

Joyce Butler nominates Steven Spofford. For Steven’s many years (and ongoing) support of the mission of Kennebunk’s Brick Store Museum and Kennebunkport’s South Congregational Church.

Mark Sutton nominates Maureen King. “For as long as I can remember, Maureen has served tirelessly on the SAD 71 and RSU 21 school board. She’s made a big difference.”

Preston Edmands nominates Ben Vernon and Allyson Strout for the Post’s Great Person of the Year award. “They come as a package, so I can’t nominate one without the other. You’ve likely gotten a lot of email nominations for these two, because as a couple, they run the greatest thing to happen to community fitness in Kennebunk for as long as I can remember. For the last few years Ben and Allyson have been fostering a healthy, happy bunch of people through their Crossfit KGB gym on Water Street.

When I came across the article in this week’s Post, the people of my local crossfit box immediately came to mind. Even on a snowy winter day, I know I can trek down to Water Street and improve myself, with wholehearted support from a diverse and tight-knit group of people. And I’ve come to know a good many of those people - through parties, competitions, 5Ks, cookouts, etc.

Ben and Allyson also organize fundraisers for members in need, one of many ways they show their constant support for any and everyone who walks through their doors. Their classes are more than affordable, are made accessible by friendly staff, and are always exhilarating.”

Helen Sargent nominates Linda Johnson for the Great Person Award. “Linda has served diligently on the Kennebunk Downtown Committee for many years and for the past several as chairman.

Downtown Kennebunk has undergone a myriad of positive changes over the years that Linda has been involved with. These include new retail stores, muchneeded trash containers, new trees, brick sidewalks, farmers market, beautification of curbsides, annual tree lighting festivities, chamber of commerce presence on Water Street, the new Waterhouse Center featuring ice skating and many more.

All these improvements have been supported by the Downtown Kennebunk Committee under the direction of Linda Johnson and members of her committee.

Congratulations to Linda Johnson for a job well done, and much appreciated.”

Richard Day nominates Robert Convery.

“I nominate Bob because since the loss of his wife some 10 years ago, Bob has rededicated his life to serving his community, his friends and his family. This 78-year-old man spends his time helping others in so many ways it is impossible to detail all of it, but here is a brief summary.

Bob monitors and cares for a dozen houses in his neighborhood for absentee owners. Bob takes in the trash containers for numerous neighbors in his area who are unable to do it. Bob volunteers many hours to his church each week and Sunday in service to others. He cooks meals for the indigent and takes food bought by himself to residents of assisted living and nursing homes. He volunteers with the Kennbunkport Fire Department, assisting in many ways, including carrying drinking water for firefighters at working fires. He assists the town Emergency Response Team and volunteers to clean the fire station. He buys and puts up American flags on his neighborhood streets for Independence Day and Flag Day. Bob is a member of and a volunteer for the historical society doing research and helping publish valuable historical articles. Knowing that my house budget is devoted to helping grandkids in college, Bob delivers his Wall Street Journal to me every day because he knows I love to read it.

Bob does so much more than described above and he is known and beloved by a great many people in this area. A humble selfless citizen who always is thinking of others, I am pleased and honored to submit his name as 2012 Great Person.”

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