BETHEL – The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its 37th annual awards dinner May 12 at the Grand Summit Hotel at Sunday River Ski Resort.

The program recognizes deserving community servants, a Bethel area business that has made significant strides in the past year, a forest products industry entrepreneur, and a few employees who have made extraordinary contributions to their workplaces.

Jonathan and Kate Goldberg, owners of True North Adventureware, are being presented the 2006 Business of the Year Award. They recently completed a renovation of a new store on Route 26 south of Bethel village. They have been in business for nearly 18 years in Bethel.

The Forest Products Industry Award will go to George Nickerson, a 25-year veteran of the Bethel Sawmill, across two ownerships: P.H. Chadbourne Co. and now Hancock Lumber. His entrepreneurial spirit, his mentoring abilities to his coworkers, and his devotion to the community of Bethel are assets that led to his selection.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented to Ken and Alice McInness of Bryant Pond. They have been integral to the operations of the Maine Conservation School since 1957.

Steve Wight of Newry will be the recipient of the 2006 Henry H. Hastings Award for Citizenship. Besides being first selectman of the Town of Newry for many years, Steve has served the State of Maine on the Land Use Regulation Commission, and he has either been the founder of, an active member of, or is currently serving in the leadership of dozens of community and regional organizations.

Rocky Freda of Sun Valley Sports and Guide Services will be presented the President’s Award, for his devotion and service to the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce. Rocky has served on the chamber’s Executive Committee for four years. He’s served on the marketing committee and the Strategic Planning Committee and has volunteered hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to the organization during his tenure.

The chamber presents Employee of the Year Awards in four categories. Receiving the Education Award is John Emery, a fifth grade teacher at Andover Elementary School and a 33-year veteran of the educational profession. Doreen Kenyon, the head of housekeeping at the Sudbury Inn, is being presented the Hospitality Employee of the Year. She is being cited by her employers as a tireless worker, well-organized, devoted and, at the same time, cheerful and upbeat.

Receiving the 2006 Retail & Service Employee of the Year is Charles Dutterer, a 15-year veteran of Bennett Automotive.

The 2006 Ski Industry Employee of the Year is being shared this year by Andrew Bresette, snowmaking manager, and Alan Lowe, grooming manager, at Sunday River Ski Resort.

Student awards will go to Danna Wilson of Bethel for the Taste of Bethel Award in her pursuit of post secondary training in the culinary arts, and Student Citizenship Awards to Margaret Duplessis and Brandon Costello.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recipient will be announced at the dinner.

All are welcome to attend the dinner. The cost is $30 per person for a complete buffet dinner. Tables of eight are available for groups. RSVP to the chamber office at 824-2282 for reservations no later than Monday, May 8. Payment options include credit cards, check or cash, and prepayment is appreciated.

Social hour begins at 6 p.m. accompanied by a silent auction, featuring dozens of items donated by chamber members and friends. The dinner will be served promptly at 7 p.m.