NORWAY – Several residents won plaudits Saturday night for their contributions to the community as the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce held its annual dinner.

Lisa Jones received the Citizen of the Year award for her volunteer efforts with the Oxford Hills Food Pantry, Stephens Memorial Thrift Shop, SAD 17, and other organizations. In presenting the award, Suzanne Grover estimated that Jones has contributed 21,320 hours of her time to such work.

“A huge thank you to the hundreds of volunteers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Jones said in accepting the honor. “Thank you, Oxford Hills.”

Timothy Churchill, president of Western Maine Health, accepted the award for Employers of the Year.

“We love this community,” said Churchill. “We are so grateful to be recognized for this honor.”

Jessica Jendrick, of Blue Moon Midwives, received the Employee of the Year award for the health care sector, while Jess Small of Turner Publishing won the same award for the service sector.

Amanda Huotari, executive director of the Celebration Barn Theater, accepted the Rising Star of the Year award, which recognizes “a young, talented, and dedicated individual who shows promise and also personifies the vision of the Oxford Hills as a dynamic and exciting place to live and work by being an active member of the community.”

The event drew a crowd of about 230 to the State of Maine Armory. Unlike other years, it did not feature a keynote speaker as in previous years, a decision that Executive Director Kelsey Jewell said resulted from input from attendees of previous dinners.

Instead, the event focused more on an entertainment, with a silent auction of prizes donated by local businesses and a live auction presented by Paul Arsenault. Henry Bascomb, a humorist who Jewell introduced as coming “all the way from the other side of Streaked Mountain,” also performed for the crowd, estimated to be at about 230.

Norway Savings Bank sponsored the event, with additional backing from sponsorship from Weston-Chandler Funeral Homes, W.J. Wheeler Insurance, Park Street Press, Blue Moon Midwives, Bessey Motor Sales, Turner Publishing, Maine Machine Products, Moose Pond Arts and Ecology, and Western Maine Health. Cold River Vodka was present to offer samples of their product, and C.N. Brown sponsored the silent auction.

At the end of the evening, Dana Chandler received a portrait for his service in the past two years as the chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. M. Kathryn Kelly-Gaynor will assume the position.

“They want me to say something, so thank you,” said Kelly-Gaynor. “We’re going to have fun.”


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