After 41 years of presenting the Community Service Award to local residents, the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce is renaming the award in honor of Suzanne Grover, who passed away in January.

John Williams, executive director of the chamber and a friend of the Grover family, said that Suzanne and her husband Rupert received the Community Service Award in 1999 and have “always had the needs of the greater Oxford Hills area in mind.”

He said he got to know Suzanne Grover over the 20 years that he has been involved with the chamber, and he knew her and her family through his association with their church in Bethel.

“I always knew that when she walked through the door at the chamber, she and I would be engaged in an important conversation,” Williams said. “She was always very direct with me, and she always had a smile on her face and was very energized in what she was doing. I knew once she sat down and came up with an idea of how to help her community, that I would be involved with it as well.”

Williams described Grover as a “tour de force,” and said it was “very difficult to say no whenever she asked for anything.”

Grover and her husband were the founders of Grover Gundrilling and the Boxberry School.

Williams pointed out that Grover was involved with the Oxford Food Pantry and the Oxford County Fair, and more recently, was “very involved” in the Travis Mills Foundation.

“One of the first things I wanted to do when she passed away was to help people recognize what she has done for our community all of these years,” Williams said. “I went to the board of directors and told them that (Suzanne) is a woman who has supported our organization, helped hundreds of families, and has gone out of her way to help other people. The board had a discussion and they were all for it.”

The award will now be called the Suzanne Grover Community Service Award, Williams said.

According to the chamber’s website, the award is given to “an individual and resident of the Oxford Hills who has provided outstanding community service to the Oxford Hills region over an extended period of time.”

The Oxford Hills Chamber gave the first Suzanne Grover Community Service Award to Amanda and Aaron Ouellette of Daddy O’s Diner in Oxford, recognizing them for their role in providing free community dinners to people on the fourth Thursday of the month and raising more than $4,000 for the state’s Heating Assistance Program.

Williams said the Ouellettes and other Oxford Hills award recipients will be honored during the chamber’s annual dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the Silver Spur in Mechanic Falls.

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Suzanne Grover (Sun Journal file photo)

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