Lewiston woman honored for volunteer work

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AUGUSTA — Gov. John Baldacci presented five exceptional Maine volunteers, one outstanding business and one outstanding nonprofit with a 2010 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on Thursday.

The awards are presented annually during National Volunteer Week, the celebration of citizen volunteer action and the impact it has on critical needs in communities. They recognize donations of time and leadership that have made a significant difference in the quality of life for Maine residents.

The award for Outstanding Volunteer of the Year was presented to Eileen Danforth of Lewiston. For 17 years — last year for over 2,000 hours — Eileen has inspired through example in multiple volunteer roles at Central Maine Medical Center. She includes volunteers of all abilities in activities and makes each individual feel welcome, worthy and supported.

Emily Fitch of Portland received the Outstanding National Service Volunteer for accomplishments during her AmeriCorps term of service with the Community Resource Corps. Fitch has dedicated her life to service, logging more than 2,500 hours in the past year. Her efforts have impacted hundreds of families in the process.

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The 2010 Outstanding Public Sector Volunteer is Frank Wallace of Cape Neddick. For 12 years, Frank has volunteered over 1,000 hours each year mentoring students, planning curriculum with teachers, and problem-solving with school administrators in one of York School Department’s four schools.

Bijou Umuhoza of Portland was selected as the Youth Volunteer of the Year. As a high school student, Bijou found time to dedicate over 1,000 hours last year to the Ubuntu Ministry, the Center for Grieving Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the NAACP Youth Council. She’s a shining example of a youth volunteer’s impact in her community.

Cited for Excellence in Volunteer Administration was Sue Bowie of the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. She grew the volunteer program from 25 volunteers to 187 adult volunteers who contribute 60,000 hours annually. Her program is an integral part to the daily operations of the hospital. Her insight, assistance and counsel are often sought by other institutions and volunteer directors.

The awards presented to organizations recognize three categories of community volunteer engagement:

The Outstanding Non-Profit Award recognizes an organization that operates a high quality volunteer program that achieves significant and meaningful results. The 2010 award was presented to Lebanon Rescue Department. One of the busiest all-volunteer municipal ambulance and rescue departments in the state, the Lebanon Rescue Department provides lifesaving care, education and community services through an all-volunteer program. Forty-nine volunteers contributed over 15,000 hours of service in 2009.

The Corporate Volunteerism Award was presented to UNUM. Last year, their 546 employees in Cumberland and York counties gave 35,522 hours to support education, disability awareness, health and wellness and arts and culture. UNUM employees collect food for local pantries, coats for the homeless, school supplies for youth, holiday gifts for families and cards and gifts for military members stationed overseas.

Immediately after the Hall of Flags ceremony, more than 700 volunteers were recognized by Baldacci at a ceremony in the atrium of the Maine State Museum. Each of those individuals contributed over 500 hours to programs from all across the state. Their level of service resulted in their names being added to the Roll of Honor for the 2010 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards.

The Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards are administered jointly by the Governor’s Office and the Maine Commission for Community Service. Since 1994, the Commission has focused its efforts on building capacity and sustainability in Maine’s volunteer sector by funding service programs, developing volunteer managers, raising awareness, and encouraging an ethic of service. For more information visit MaineServiceCommission.gov or VolunteerMaine.org.

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