PARIS — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told members of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce on Friday that common sense, hard work, perseverance and celebrating success are values that define Maine and the Oxford Hills.

Collins spoke to a sold-out crowd at the 37th annual chamber awards dinner at Four Seasons Function Center. More than 200 businesspeople and officials attended to recognize outstanding individuals and companies in the business community.

“Nothing demonstrates the spirit of the Oxford Hills region more fully than the way you have embraced the Travis Mills Project,” Collins said, referring to the soldier who reached out to other wounded warriors after being seriously wounded in Afghanistan.

“The effort to establish a National Veterans Family Center here in Maine, supported by Rupert and Suzanne Grover, is a fitting tribute to these heroes,” Collins said.

The Grovers founded Grover Gundrilling Inc. in Norway.

Collins cited local companies such as Wells Wood Turning in Buckfield, Maine Machine Products in Paris and New Balance shoe factory in Norway for their ingenuity and productive workforce. She called on the Pentagon to “obey the law” and let companies such as New Balance manufacture sneakers for the military.

“Working together, you are producing remarkable economic vitality in the Oxford Hills region,” she said. “New recreation opportunities and a strong ethic of environmental stewardship are making this region a tourism destination. From locally produced food products and farmers’ markets to the arts, you are advancing the best of Maine.”

Collins spoke about the economic progress being made in the Oxford Hills, including a Bethel brewery that is among more than 35 that have sprung up across the state in the past 10 years.

Moving the economy forward and putting people back to work is her No. 1 goal as senator, Collins said.

She outlined a seven-point plan for jobs in Maine that includes providing employees with proper education and training and helping small businesses by rescinding some parts of the Affordable Health Care Plan that she believes impedes business growth and success.

She cited the cutbacks of part-time employees in Oxford and substitute teachers hours in the Bangor school system because of new health care mandates for part-time workers.

Other points in the plan include cutting out the “red tape” that makes it difficult for small businesses to create more jobs and reducing the tax burden on small businesses, among other items.

“The economic progress you are making underscores the No. 1 issue we must address in Washington: jobs. Moving our economy forward and putting our people back to work remains my No. 1 goal,” she said.

Collins talked about a Seven Point Plan for Jobs in Maine, which she has designed to create and foster an environment that leads to job creation and growth.

“It begins with Maine’s greatest asset – our hard-working, resilient people,” she said. “Robust workforce development, ensuring that Maine workers get the education and training they need to compete in the 21st century, must be a top priority.”

The evening, which began with a social hour with performances by guitarist Denny Breau and Debi Irons of Art Moves Dance Studio before dinner, also recognized the award-winning businesses and individuals in the Oxford Hills.

The 2013 Business and Community Award winners were announced in December.

The Business of the Year Award went to the Oxford Federal Credit Union, which was credited by the chamber with supporting educational and community organizations throughout the year, including ASPIRE Higher, the concerts in Moore Park, Responsible Pet Care and the Chamber Chat radio program on WOXO.

Lauded as Employee of the Year was Cathy Fanjoy Coffey, business manager for SAD 17. The chamber said she plays an instrumental role in the school district’s sometimes difficult budget process.

The Rising Star of the Year was presented to Buy the Fire on Route 26 in Oxford. It’s owned and operated by Don and Dianne Ferry and is the only stove and fireplace dealer in Maine with two master hearth professionals.

The Community Service Award winner was Ronald Kugell of Oxford. He taught science in the SAD 17 school district and also served as assistant principal of the high school and the Adult Education director in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Kugell has also worked for the Oxford Police Department and served as chief and serves as the chairman of the SAD 17 Board of Directors.

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