LEAP, Inc. was named the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce 2019 Business of the Year last week. Pictured from left at the presentation are Pam Dixon, Trisha Mosher, Scott Landry, Darryl Wood, David Dixon, Sarah Judd, Lynne Hunter and Lisa Marston. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — Franklin County Chamber of Commerce presented several awards at its annual meeting Thursday, Oct. 24.

Chamber Executive Director Trisha Mosher said award nominations are requested from members. The due date to return nominations varies.

LEAP, Inc. was named the 2019 Business of the Year.

LEAP’s Executive Director Darryl Wood said of the award, “When we get an award, it’s an award for all our staff. We put a lot of work in to building teams of people who all work together. We provide quality services for our clients.

“This award reflects back on all the work we put in, hiring all the best people, encouraging them to do good work. Leadership at all levels of the organization is very reflective of the work our management team puts in to build up all of our direct care professionals.

“We’re a small community. Word of mouth is really important. This tells me people are out there saying we’re a good organization to work for. We try to do as much business locally as possible. We are always saying, ‘We are community.'”

LEAP has a staff of about 200. It provides a variety of supports for some 100 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Adult case management services are provided in Franklin, Kennebec and Somerset counties. It oversees group homes in Franklin and Androscoggin counties.

“Most of our clients are served 24/7, 365 days a year,” Wood said.

He has been involved with the chamber for a number of years.

“We’re an economic engine even though we’re a for-profit with a charitable mission,” Wood said. “Our work supports all the other businesses.”

Assistant Lisa Marston said, “I’ve been with LEAP since July, am a fairly new employee. I was quite proud to be part of the organization. It was very emotional, too after the events of September 16. Feeling the support of the community and other businesses was comforting.”

Human Resources Director Sarah Judd said, “I was surprised that we were in the running. I was overwhelmed with emotions, with everything we’ve been through, realizing how big of a community we belong to and how much support we’ve gotten from the community. We’re back to business, LEAP is continuing.”

Board treasurer Lynn Hunter said, “It’s an incredible honor, an extension of all the unbelievable support the community has extended to us in the past two months. It was impressive to see all the businesses represented that night from Franklin County.”

Wood said one of the takeaways from the award ceremony was everybody who spoke, spoke about positivity in business practices. Creating a positive work environment and good leadership transcends all businesses.

“When in business, you need to be an optimist. Being an optimist leads to bringing in the right people,” he said. “LEAP has always aspired to send a positive message to our employees and the community.

“Franklin County has a high-quality group of people to choose from as an employer. I find the people conscientious, hardworking. They want to do the right thing if given the right business environment to do so.

“In looking around at all the different faces in the room that night, everybody was nodding, agreeing with the basic premise that to be successful in business you should be an optimist.”

Marston said being on the receiving end of all that positive reinforcement has been an incredible experience.

“It’s great for morale, self-confidence. It makes you want to work harder, be a better person.”

Wood said, “LEAP is back up and running. We’re going to be here. The quality of our service to individuals never wavered. We were in this building within 10 days, which was really important.”

Hunter said, “As a board member I experienced the tragedy from a bit outside. The people here were incredible. You just felt this focus, caring and support, they weren’t going to let go. The community responded to that care. I feel very lucky to be on this board, to experience that dedication.”

Wood said he is working on a way to reach out to the hundreds of people all across the country who helped, from a ‘hang in there’ message to financial donations.

“I can honestly say, particularly early on, every little message of support helped,” he said.

Judd said the Human Resources Share Group lost its Christmas tree on Sept. 16.

“Maybe we can get organizations similar to ours to make ornaments so we will have a Christmas tree to put up,” she said.

Chamber President Pam Dixon from Franklin Savings Bank presented Farmington Fire Rescue Department with the President’s Award.  She explained that she made the decision with her heart. The audience was very touched when Clyde Ross and Stephen Bunker accepted the award with many heartfelt words of thanks.

Franklin Memorial Hospital Auxiliary received the Community Service award of the year while Farmington Underground received the Rising Star award.

Franklin Memorial Hospital Auxiliary won the Community Service Award of the Year. Scott Landry

Stephan Bunker and Clyde Ross accept an award on behalf of Farmington Fire Rescue. Also pictured are Pam Dixon at left and Trisha Mosher. Scott Landry

Joe Musumeci accepts the Rising Star Award on behalf of Farmington Underground. Scott Landry


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