Dick Gleason, president of Gleason Media Services, has been named the 2008 Citizen of the Year by the Auburn Business Association.

This is the 36th year the association has given the award to honor volunteerism, good business practices and dedication to Lewiston-Auburn. The association normally surprises the recipient at its annual spring banquet, but board members this year voted to release the winner ahead of time and announced their decision Monday.

Gleason learned he was the winner a couple of weeks ago.

“This is more than a surprise,” he said in an interview Monday. “It’s an overwhelming feeling to think that people think that well of you, what you’ve tried to do for the community.”

Gleason attended the University of Maine in Orono and earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business administration. In 1975, he bought an FM radio station in Norway, now named WOXO-FM. He currently owns five radio stations within 40 miles of Lewiston-Auburn.

For more than 30 years, Gleason, 60, has volunteered for myriad organizations and boards, from Healthy Androscoggin to the Auburn Business Association, the group that named him Citizen of the Year. A father of three and grandfather of five, he’s most proud of his work with youth-related groups, including the Oxford Hills girls’ basketball league, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Auburn-Lewiston and, most recently, Central Maine Community College.


“When you do community service you don’t think about getting awards,” he said. “You just enjoy doing what you’re doing.”

This isn’t the first time Gleason has been honored for his work as a businessman or volunteer. He’s also received the Business Leadership Award from the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, the President’s Cornerstone Award for Business from the Maine Senate and the Legion of Honor from Kiwanis International.

Gleason had been nominated for the Auburn Business Association’s Citizen of the Year award a couple of years ago but did not win. He was serving on the Auburn City Council at the time, and the association didn’t feel the award was appropriate.

“We really try not to honor somebody that is in public office,” said Greg Whitney, a member of the association’s board. “So once he became no longer so much of a public-type citizen, then we said we have to honor Dick because he’s done so much.”

Gleason did not seek another term on the council when his term was up in November.

He was the only person the association considered for the 2008 award.

Gleason said he was honored to be chosen. He hoped it would encourage others to get involved with the community.

“We desperately need more people in the service clubs, like Kiwanis and Rotary,” he said. “There’s got to be a way to stimulate people into seeing the importance of this, and maybe this is one of the ways.”

Gleason will receive his award during the Auburn Business Association’s awards banquet on May 8 at Lost Valley in Auburn.

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