MEXICO — Jim Naples, known for his generosity and Christmas decorations at his Naples Packing Co. business, has been named Mexico’s Citizen of the Year.

Businessman Jim Naples, left, was named Mexico Citizen of the Year on Tuesday by Select Board Chairman Cliff Stewart. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

The announcement was made Tuesday by Chairman Cliff Stewart at the start of the Select Board meeting . After asking Naples to come up and stand beside him, Stewart said, “I reached out to several people and asked them to give me one word to describe him. And not surprisingly, a lot of people immediately said, ‘generosity.’ For all your service to Mexico throughout the years, and especially during the last few years, it’s an honor to present the 2021 Mexico Citizen of the Year to Jim Naples.”

“This is a real shock. I just can’t believe this,” Naples said. “You really caught me off guard. Just thanks for everything. I’m glad I could be the one to do it and follow the man (his dad). I really appreciate everything.”

Stewart presented Naples with a certificate, a 2021 Citizen of the Year mug, and $50 gift certificate from the town. Quite a few people in the room, including friends and family of Naples, joked that the gift certificate was to Naples Packing.

Prior to presenting the award, Stewart said every year there is an antique car show in the parking lot behind the Town Hall, with all the proceeds going to the Fireman’s Relief Association.

“Jim not only participates in the show every year, by bringing his stable of cars, but he also donates the famous Naples meat bundle to raffle off. And if that wasn’t enough, in years past, he has provided all the food for the firefighters to cook at either cost or extremely reduced pricing,” he said.


Stewart said last year’s car show was one of the biggest and they went through a ton of food. “They even ran out, and Jim scurried back to the warehouse to get more. Later on, when the Relief Association asked him for the bill, he simply said, ‘Don’t worry about it.'”

That was followed by a presentation from Fire Chief Mat Theriault, who on behalf of the Fireman’s Relief Association, presented Naples with a hat and a T-shirt from the department as a token of appreciation for his generosity.

“Any time we need anything, he just drops it off. Doesn’t matter if they’re (Naples) open or closed, he just goes and gets it. We couldn’t ask for anything better than that,” he said.

Stewart noted that Naples receiving this award is family tradition, as it was presented in the past to both his father and his brother.

On another note, he said, “It’s only fitting that we are presenting this award during the holiday season. As human beings, we don’t always realize how we affect other people’s lives with the seemingly small things we do or the traditions that we continue.”

Anyone riding by Naples (654 River Road) this time of year will be presented with a magnificent Christmas light display, Stewart said.

“When my oldest daughter was just a small child, we would take rides this time of year to see the Christmas lights. Going by the Naples complex with all the decorations and seeing the big ‘N’ on the side of the building, her face would light up and she’d say, ‘Look dad. It’s the North Pole!'” he said.

That was followed by laughter in the room.

“While she’s 29 years old now, not a holiday season goes by when she rides by your place and she says, ‘Dad, remember when I thought that was the North Pole?’ So, unwittingly, you’ve been a part of our Christmas and I’m sure, many others, for over 25 years,” said Stewart.

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