By Rich Livingston

Feature Writer

The Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce functions as the convergence of business, education, public service and community. At the height of awards season each year, the Chamber recognizes those whose contributions to the quality of life in our towns in the past year were among the particularly notable.

“Having the opportunity to select those organizations or individuals I consider to be especially worthy of recognition each year is one of the greatest perks of the presidency of the Chamber,” Chip Morrison said. This year, there will be two recipients of the President’s Award.

Conferred only when appropriate recipients have been identified, the first of this year’s awards will be presented to L-A Harley Davidson, full-service Harley sales, service, merchandise retailer on outer Main Street in Lewiston.

L-A Harley demonstrates commitment to community by its support of an astonishing array of community service organizations and fundraising events, including the Special Olympics, autism, cancer survivors, wounded heroes, muscular dystrophy, Camp Kieve, mental health initiatives, Toys for Tots, blood drives, and scholarships.

“They are wonderful corporate citizens, and we are pleased to recognize their incredibly generous contributions,” Morrison said.

That the resurgence of Lewiston-Auburn is no longer a secret is in part attributable to the efforts of Rinck Advertising, recipient of the second President’s Award, to spread the word about all that’s happening here. The multiple award-winning, local branding, advertising, and communications firm is built on the notion of problem solving for its clients.

From its inception, the decade-old company has helped numerous local nonprofit organizations attract vital attention and support, including the Maine Cancer Foundation, Museum L-A, Launch L-A, Maine Music Society, L/A Arts, The Public Theatre and the Dempsey Challenge.

Part of the bedrock of the Lewiston-Auburn community for more than 135 years, the Community Service Leadership Award will be presented to the YWCA and its executive director, Kathy Durgin-Leighton.

Having been rescued from the brink of extinction just a few years ago, the YW has thrived after having formed strategic community partnerships with such groups as Tree Street Youth, the Lewiston Housing Authority, Lisbon Recreation Department, the Boys and Girls Club, Bates College’s Harward Center for Community Partnerships, and the Dempsey Challenge.

Durgin-Leighton and the board of directors have generated new grant funding, membership has more than doubled, and the YW has become sustainable and has resumed its leadership role in the community.

The Education Business Partnership Award represents the alignment of the interests of local business and community, and helps nourish the development of a trained workforce to support future economic growth and vitality.

The award will be presented to Community Credit Union, which was awarded first place at the state level for all categories in its asset class at the 2013 Maine Credit Union League Convention: the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award, Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award, Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award, and Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award.

Maine credit unions compete against each other and the winners of the statewide award competition are submitted to the national competition where winners are announced in late February at the Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

Recipients of the Desjardins Youth Award are recognized for demonstrating outreach and youth financial literacy initiatives. Similarly, the Desjardins Adult Award is given to credit unions demonstrating excellence in financial education for adults. Community Credit Union’s involvement in projects such as the Adopt-A-School partnership with Washburn Elementary in Auburn and ongoing lobby promotion efforts in its branches proved to be strong factors in the award selection process.

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