Chamber honors 17 for making a difference

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NEWRY – Achievement recognition spanned the ages Friday at the Bethel Chamber of Commerce annual awards night.

Seventeen recipients, who were honored by about 200 people at Sunday River Ski Resort’s Grand Summit Hotel conference room, ranged from SAD 44 students to senior citizens.

“This evening provides us with a chance to celebrate people who made a difference,” said chamber President Bill White.

“Tonight is for you,” Executive Director Robin Zinchuk said, following White’s speech.

“A job well done to all. It never ceases to amaze me the incredible talent and the wonderful hearts in this community. Thank you. Thank you,” she added.

At about 8:15 p.m., emcee and SAD 44 Superintendent David Murphy got the show rolling, lacing his talk with laughter-provoking humor, while reading off accolades and achievements of those being recognized.

While Murphy joked and read prepared statements provided by people who nominated each award recipient, Zinchuk flipped through a PowerPoint presentation on the large screen beside Murphy.

Ken and Alice McInnis, who were nominated by Scott Olson, won the Lifetime Achievement Award for their integral role in the operations of the Maine Conservation School “in one capacity or another since 1957,” Murphy said.

“Fifty years! Wow! Congratulations!” he said to the Bryant Pond couple.

Jonathan and Kate Goldberg, owners of True North Adventureware, received the chamber’s 2006 Business of the Year award.

Others winners, included:

* George Nickerson, Forest Products Industry Award, a 25-year employee of the Bethel sawmill.

* Steve Wight of Newry, 2006 Henry H. Hastings Award for Citizenship, for being “an incredible public servant,” Murphy said.

* Rocky Freda, President’s Award, for his devotion and service to the chamber, which included “hundreds, if not thousands of hours to the organization” during his seven-year tenure, Murphy said.

* Jette Black, 2006 Volunteer of the Year Award, “a tremendous event volunteer, who hardly ever says no, and that’s why he’s always asked, and why he got Volunteer of the Year,” Murphy said.

Employee of the Year awards went to Doreen Kenyon of the Sudbury Inn, Andrew Bresette and Alan Lowe of Sunday River Ski Resort, Charles “Chuck” Dutterer of Bennett Automotive, and John Emery, a 33-year teacher at Andover Elementary School.

The chamber also recognized three SAD 44 Telstar High School students, two of whom Murphy said he welcomed to the district when they were entering kindergarten.

Margaret Duplessis and Brandon Costello won Student Citizenship awards, and Danna Wilson won the Susan O’Donnell Memorial Taste of Bethel Award. Each also won $500 savings-bond scholarships.

There was no keynote speaker, but Rep. Michael Michaud spoke before the awards ceremony, updating attendees on the status of legislation in Washington that will have an effect on Maine.

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