FARMINGTON — More than 200 people piled into the University of Maine at Farmington on April 28 to celebrate the Franklin County Children’s Task Force for 40 years of serving children and families.

The task force recognized local heroes of children who continually contribute to the well being of families in Franklin County.

Longtime employee Deborah McGrane of Jay was given the People’s Choice Award. McGrane has been the heart of the Children’s Task Force for over 15 years. Before she was an employee she was a board member.

Roger Condit received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteerism over the years. The number of children who have experienced joy at playing with McGruff the crime dog at the annual Children’s Festival for the last 25 plus years is only one of the reasons why Condit is loved by so many.

The Business Collaborator Award went to a business that has continually shown that nonprofit and the business community can work together to improve the community. Kyes Insurance took home the honors, being recognized for their continued support of high school and elementary students with programs that increase students’ abilities to become citizens who give back to the community they live in.

Specifically mentioned was Rocky Bjorn who, with his wife, Stephanie, have been longtime supporters of the clothing exchange at the FCCTF, which ensures all children have clothing and developmentally appropriate toys to help them thrive.

State Sen. Tom Saviello took home the State Partner Award, for being a longtime supporter of the Maine Families home visitation program, going so far as to visit with families involved in the program to see first-hand how it helps families who are dealing with the most difficult situations.

The final award was given to Detective David St. Laurent from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department as Professional Advocate of the Year. St. Laurent was recognized for his continued efforts at eliminating child sexual abuse in the most vulnerable population. He thanked the audience, but not before asking for a moment of silence for Somerset County Sheriff Cpl. Eugene Cole.

To learn more about the Franklin County Children’s Task Force or the programs, call 207-778-6960 or visit www.fcctf.org.

The People’s Choice Award was presented to Deborah McGrane, Franklin County Children’s Task Force. From left are Renee Whitley, Heather McGrane, Ethan McGrane, Deb McGrane, Sara McGrane and Gary McGrane.

David St. Laurent, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, was named Professional Advocate of the Year. From left are Chrissy St. Laurent, Renee Whitley and David St. Laurent.

The State Partner Award was presented to State Sen. Thomas Saviello. From left are Christine Geisser, Renee Whitley and Saviello.

Kyes Insurance was named Business Collaborator of the Year. From left are Stephanie Bjorn, Rocky Bjorn and Renee Whitley

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Roger Condit, Children’s Task Force board member. From left are Renee Whitley, Karyl Condit and Roger Condit.