RUMFORD — The River Valley Chamber of Commerce presented its annual awards at a dinner at Black Mountain of Maine.

Recipients were:

  • Business Person of the Year, Katie Houghton, Dixfield Discount Fuel;
  • Volunteer of the Year, Dan Richard;
  • Customer Service of the Year, Franklin Savings Bank of Rumford, represented by Diane Perry;
  • Employee of the Year, Sherry Milligan of Black Mountain of Maine; and
  • Nonprofit/Community Service Leadership Award, Natalie Sneller, Canton Busy Bees 4-H Club.

“I’m very honored to accept this award, but there’s 15 other people beside every event that I do that are just as deserving of this award,” Richard said at the April 25 ceremony. His volunteering includes years of providing music, being an emcee for Relay For Life and hosting a motorcycle ride in honor of cancer survivors.

Dan Richard holds his Volunteer of the Year award from the River Valley Chamber of Commerce. It was presented April 25 at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

Richard leads the annual Fourth of July celebration, donates time and equipment for Voices of the Valley, volunteers with the Rumford Parks Commission and co-chairs the Halloween Walk in Dixfield.

In accepting the Business of the Year award, Houghton, said, “I just want to say thank you to my employees, especially to the drivers and my right-hand person, Missy (McDonald).”

The company was nominated because of its involvement in community events such as Pumpkin Fest and Christmas in the Valley. Nine years ago, Dixfield Discount Fuel began an annual toy drive, supplying toys, money and clothing to students at local schools.

Sherry Milligan of Black Mountain of Maine accepts the Employee of the Year award from River Valley Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Kaulback. The award was presented at the annual chamber ceremony at Black Mountain of Maine on April 25. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

Milligan, the Employee of the Year, was nominated by Roger Arsenault and Jim Carter of Black Mountain of Maine, who said she heads all of the inside operations and directs all of their events. She is the last to leave in the evening, no matter what time the event ends, and is the first to arrive in the morning, they said.

“My dad told me there is no ‘I’ in team,” Milligan said. “Therefore, I would like to accept this award on behalf of my fellow co-workers that make this amazing team.”

In accepting the Nonprofit/Community Service Leadership Award, Sneller said, “It’s been a great joy for me, personally, to work with a dedicated group of parents and volunteers to see the Canton Busy Bees Club and 4-H programs resurrected for our own children and others in our communities.”

Sneller leads the club, which has about 20 youths and families involved. It was revitalized in September 2017 by Sneller after years of inactivity.

Natalie Sneller, leader of the Canton Busy Bees 4-H Club, speaks after receiving the Nonprofit/Community Service Leadership Award from the River Valley Chamber of Commerce on April 25 at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

The roots of the club go back to the early 1940s when her great-grandparents, John Carlton and Gladys Conant, started the club for their family and neighbors in Canton Point. “Gladys served as a club leader for 60 years, and the 4-H experience impacted thousands of children and generations of family,” Sneller said.

In October, the club painted pumpkins and delivered them to residents at Pinnacle Health & Rehab Center in Canton. In December, members collected toys for students at the local school, and in February, they made valentine cards for children at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.

“The goal has been to connect the kids to the local communities and to educate them by doing hands-on projects that will teach them life skills,” Sneller said.

Perry accepted the Customer Service Award on behalf of Franklin Savings Bank of Rumford. The business was nominated because “their entire staff always goes out of their way to greet the customers and make them feel at home, making it a pleasant place to conduct business,” chamber administrator Cheryl Dickson said.

“I just have a great feeling about this community,” Perry said. “There’s lots of good things happening, and it really starts here with all the community leaders in this room, and believing in our hometown.”

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Katie Houghton, center, of Dixfield Discount Fuel accepts the award for Business Person of the Year from River Valley Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Kaulback at the annual chamber dinner April 25 at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford. Fellow employee Missy McDonald stands with Houghton. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

Diane Perry of Franklin Savings Bank in Rumford accepts the Customer Service of the Year award from River Valley Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Kaulback at the annual chamber dinner April 25 at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

 


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