The name of the recipient is normally kept secret by the ABA membership, but the winner learned of the award several weeks ago when it was accidentally revealed to him.

Nevertheless, Whitney said he was thrilled with the tribute, which gave dozens of business acquaintances and numerous family members a chance to express their high regard for his devotion to service for several causes.

The evening’s speakers mixed ample humor into their stories of Whitney’s many years of community volunteerism.

Robert Thompson, executive director of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, led off the accolades with praise for Whitney’s 20 years of employment with the agency and his role in overseeing financing assistance for business startups, expansions and modernizations throughout the tri-county area. He emphasized Whitney’s “honesty and integrity.”

The next speaker, Phil Nadeau, deputy city administrator in Lewiston, turned on the humorous heat. He promised Whitney he would try to deliver as much “discomfort and borderline embarrassment” as he went through a 15-item list that would depict Whitney as “the world’s most boring man.”

The tongue-in-cheek stories combined comfortably with the other speakers’ recollections of Whitney’s lifelong volunteer work.

Christine Beaulieu, representing the American Red Cross, told how Whitney cheerfully ran up a record of 125 platelet donations. Inspired by his father-in-law’s battle with leukemia, Whitney began donating blood and platelets 33 years ago.

Whitney spent many years as a coach and judge for Odyssey of the Mind, helped build two local playgrounds.

Larry Marcoux told the audience at the award dinner that Whitney has provided effective evaluation of the financial soundness of United Way member agencies. Whitney has also volunteered for YMCA projects as well as Odyssey of the Mind and other educational work.

Whitney’s daughter, Jami Fitch, took the microphone and showed slides that poked fun at her father’s “passion for fashion.”

David Whitney, a brother, recalled their teen years at Auburn’s Walton Junior High School and Edward Little High School. He also pulled a surprise from the past when he read from a 1971 Lewiston Daily Sun news clipping about “Pumpkin Raiders” and reports of pilfered Halloween pumpkins that were rolled down Goff Hill in Auburn.

In his acceptance remarks, Greg Whitney confirmed that he might have known about the caper that involved more than a half dozen football players and two dozen pumpkins. Greg added to the good-natured sibling duel by recalling that he broke an arm on the Walton football field, and a week later, David broke his arm “in French class.”

The ABA 2015 Citizen of the Year was born in Waterville and grew up in Danville. He attended schools in Auburn, graduated from Edward Little, and attended Auburn Maine School of Commerce. While married with two young children, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a 4.0 GPA from University of Maine at Augusta.

Also attending the event were Greg’s father, Robinson Whitney, who was was a founding ABA member. Greg followed in his footsteps, remaining committed to the City of Auburn and ABA for more than thirty years.

Linda Whitney, Greg’s wife, also is an ABA past president.

The plaque was presented by ABA President Hillary Dow. Master of ceremonies was Dick Gleason. Remarks also were delivered by Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte and representatives of Maine’s congressional delegation.


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