From left are Dixfield Select Board Chairman Richard Pickett, Dixfield’s Distinguished Citizen award recipient Bob McPhee, and McPhee’s friend, Ted “Bitsy” Ionta, a member of the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times


DIXFIELD — Bob McPhee was presented with the Dixfield’s Distinguished Citizen award at the Select Board meeting on Sept. 12.
Doing the honors was Board Chairman Richard Pickett, also a state representative. He said the Distinguished Citizen Award was presented for McPhee’s “unselfish commitment for serving our community.” He was named as recipient of the award back on June 27.
Pickett also read and presented to McPhee a Legislative Sentiment, introduced by Pickett and co-sponsored by State Senator Lisa Keim (D-Oxford).
“When people do extraordinary things in communities and they show the spirit of volunteerism and such, often times legislators will honor them with a legislative sentiment,” he said.
McPhee, who was nominated by Jon Holmes, was selected from four candidates for recognition for his contributions to the community. Other candidates were Lauren Hebert, Library Director Corina Lee and current Boston Post Cane recipient Irene Weld (101).
This year’s award was combined with the Spirit of America award, presented to a local person(s), project, or group for outstanding community service to honor volunteerism.
McPhee, who continues to be an assistant coach in baseball and wrestling at Dirigo High School, had the baseball field in Harlow Park dedicated to him as “Home of the Bob McPhee Diamond,” the latest of many honors during his extraordinary life.
He was a high school student with a promising wrestling career ahead of him, but an accident during a football scrimmage on September 4, 1976, changed all that. He suffered a spinal injury that limited his movement to only his head and right arm. McPhee is wheelchair bound and can only speak through a talking machine.
But with courage and through family and friends, McPhee proved that he would never be limited in what he could accomplish.
The former longtime sportswriter for the Lewiston Sun Journal and the Rumford Falls Times, McPhee chronicled his journey in a book called “It Could Be Worse; the Rest of the Story,” about his life in detail: from the day he was paralyzed to his life-saving operation, and, ultimately, his rehabilitation after his life was saved.
Despite the odds, McPhee graduated from high school and went on to get his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono. All of this was during a time when handicapped accessible buildings were not common.
In 2009, McPhee was given a special recognition ceremony by the Maine State Legislature and the Governor.
He is a member of the National Wrestling Hall Of Fame; awarded the Medal of Courage in 2011.
McPhee was inducted into the Univ. of Maine Hall of Fame in 2016.


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