MEXICO — A couple who volunteer wherever they’re needed in town were honored as Citizens of the Year at Thursday’s Night of Appreciation.

Joe and Marjorie Richard, married for 54 years and parents of seven children, volunteer at the weekly Greater Rumford Area Ministers Pantry Service lunches, help groom snowmobile trails, participate in the annual Christmas in the Valley parade, and help out wherever there is a need.

Marjorie, who was George H. W. Bush’s nanny, has been a Girl Scout leader, operated a thrift store and day care center, and served on the town’s Budget Committee.

They are a very devoted couple and are always there when we need them. They support their church, their children and Marjorie stands strong for what she believes,” said Selectman Byron Ouellette, who read the nomination application for the couple.

Joe is a retired paper mill employee who has given of his time with his wife as much as possible.

They are a good team together and role models in our community,” Ouellette said.

The annual event aims to recognize every employee and volunteer in the town. More than 100 people attended the annual event, with Town Manager John Madigan moderating.

When recognizing two couples who frequently volunteer to clean up the Mexico Greens or gazebo, to lower the flag to half-staff when directed to, to decorate veterans’ graves, and who have been married for 63 years, Madigan suggested the secret to a long marriage.

It’s not to be in your wife’s hair. So come volunteer for the town,” he said.

Those attending laughed and clapped as honors were awarded, and winning numbers for a variety of prizes donated by local businesses were announced.

The event also honored several other employees or volunteers.

Full-time Employee of the Year was Jeff Wade, the town highway mechanic for about 20 years.

A nominating letter said that Wade has often been under a plow truck during a snowstorm fixing the hydraulic hoses and plow cables. He is also frugal with the town’s money and has worked hard to save the town thousands of dollars.

Volunteers of the Year were Kim and Mike Chiasson.

In her nominating letter, Louise Arsenault said the couple organized a benefit for a seriously ill employee, regularly participate in the Relay for Life, has served on the Mexico Recreation Board and are involved in peewee football.

Part-time Employee of the year was fire Chief Gary Wentzell.

He was cited for saving the town hundreds of thousands of dollars on the purchase of firefighting equipment, for working together with Rumford for the purchase of a combination aerial ladder and pumper truck, and for working with the town of Byron to provide fire protection.

I think it’s time fire Chief Gary Wentzell was recognized for all he has done for both the Fire Department and the town of Mexico,” Madigan said.

Other honors went to Eagle Scout Richard Masterson for a recreation park project, to the Mexico Police Explorers for their many acts of community service, and to several firefighters and Med-Care employees who were crucial to saving the lives a three people during an apartment fire in July.

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