George Byam was named Mexico’s 2017 Citizen of the Year during the town’s annual Night of Appreciation on Thursday.

RUMFORD — Former selectman and longtime volunteer George Byam was named Mexico’s 2017 Citizen of the Year during the town’s annual Night of Appreciation on Thursday.

Byam, who turns 80 in January, said, “This is a total surprise. It’s nice to get recognized for some of the things you do. I really don’t do them to get recognized.”

He joked, “It’s surprising to hear what I’ve done.”

Byam added, “I appreciate having served the community. It’s been a wonderful experience all around.”

He was nominated for the award by his wife, Sue Byam, who volunteers for the Greater Rumford Area Ministers Pantry Service in Mexico.

George served for two terms as selectman after filling out an unexpired term. When the town needed equipment to be replaced or updated, he spent many hours researching and finding the best price.

He drove for the HOPE Association for 10 years. He recently accepted a job with Community Concepts, driving children for Head Start.

He is on the board of directors for the food pantry. He drives to Auburn to pick up the food, then loads and unloads with other volunteers to supply the pantry.

He is an active member of the Mexico Congregational Church, having served as a deacon, a trustee and on various committees.

This was one of several awards presented during the evening.

The recipient of the Volunteer of the Year award was Caroline Mitchell.

Sheryl Briggs, who nominated Mitchell, said that while Mitchell has not lived very long in Mexico, she has quickly become “an active and enthusiastic member of our community.”

This includes being a secretary for the Mexico Public Library Advisory Board and volunteering at the circulation desk, serving as treasurer on the Mexico Bicentennial Committee, and she was recently elected president of the Mexico Historical Society.

Briggs, who is retiring in December as executive secretary in the town office, was presented with the Town Manager’s Special Recognition Award by Jack Gaudet in recognition of service above and beyond. Briggs has served the town for 15 years.

Former Mexico Town Manager John Madigan presented the part-time and full-time Employee of the Year awards to two workers at the Town Office.

The full-time employee is Town Cclerk Penny Duguay, who has served the town since 2005; the part-time employee is Jennifer Blodgett.

Selectmen also presented two citizen awards.

One went to June Milledge, who, during a medical emergency on Sept. 8, provided lifesaving care to a motorist in a car parked at Mexico One Stop.

The second award went to Walter Fish for his daring efforts to evacuate tenants during the apartment fire on July 29 on Cumberland Street in Rumford. He is an employee with the Mexico Recreation Department.

A plaque recognizing the town’s Spirit of America Tribute was presented by the Board of Selectmen to the Mexico Police Explorers, who are in their 10th year. By the end of 2017, the Explorers will have completed a dozen community events.

The event, held at the Eagles Club, opened with a dinner.

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