ROCKPORT – The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Year in Review Awards Gala and Annual Meeting took place at the Samoset Resort on Saturday, November 4, with more than 300 chamber member businesses, elected officials, and local community representatives in attendance.
The Year in Review Award Gala recognized those who have made contributions to the Midcoast in the past year.
The Community Person of the Year Award was presented to Don Carpenter of Tenants Harbor. Carpenter was cited for his outstanding commitment to the development of young people in our communities, having served as founder and executive director of Trekkers, Inc. from 1998 to 2016. From the early days of serving 24 students in Thomaston, Carpenter grew Trekkers into the unique outdoor-based mentoring program that it is today, now serving more than 200 students in six Midcoast communities.
After receiving a master's degree in environmental education from Lesley University, Carpenter found his way to Maine in 1998.
"I was committed as soon as I started working with the young people in this community," said Carpenter. "I wasn't sure where we were headed but felt the Trekkers program could have a significant, positive impact on the youth in our community. I believe in the adage that sometimes you have to turn a young person onto life before you can get them turned onto learning." Carpenter has nearly 30 years of experience in youth development work.
Carpenter joined the Lerner Foundation as its senior program officer in early 2016 and is now responsible for strategy, partnership development, outreach and evaluation in support of the Foundation's grant making in this area.
Carpenter and his wife, Sheryl, live in Tenants Harbor.
Congratulations to the following individuals, businesses and organizations that were selected as this year's Award Winners.
Community Volunteer of the Year Award – Nancy Jeffers
This award recognizes a person who exemplifies the spirit of community service. Recipient makes an outstanding contribution to the community through volunteer service and demonstrates exceptional commitment, service, creativity, cooperation, or leadership. Serves as a role model for others in their community and inspires others to engage in volunteer service.
A native of Owls Head and a 1971 graduate of Rockland District High School, Nancy Jeffers has been volunteering in our communities since moving back to Rockland in 1995. She currently volunteers for the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, and she serves of the boards of the Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland Main Street, RSU13, and is a member of the Coast Guard City Committee.
Innovation in Business Award - LCI
This award recognizes a business or organization that produced advancements in a product or business method that has resulted in renewed economic vitality of its business or the local community. Recipient demonstrates a proactive and innovative approach toward finding solutions to business challenges and embraces change as an opportunity for growth.
LCI is part of the Lincolnville Telephone family of companies, including Tidewater Telecom and Lincolnville Networks. The company has provided cable television and telephone service in the Midcoast for decades, but is rapidly expanding its offerings in providing broadband fiber optic internet and DSL internet services for residential and business customers.
Special Recognition Award – Midcoast Habitat for Humanity
This award recognizes a person, business, or organization that demonstrates outstanding service in one area.
Midcoast Habitat For Humanity has partnered with over 30 Knox County families to build homes with them, providing affordable housing opportunities for low income families. Families must commit to helping to construct their home, and to attending homeownership and budgeting workshops.
Community Service Award – Knox County Homeless CoalitionThis award recognizes a person, business, or organization whose activities have resulted in a significant community enhancement and/or positive contribution to the quality of life among local community members.
The Knox County Homeless Coalition offers a comprehensive approach to helping people get back to productive and self-sustaining lives. Their program identifies the obstacles preventing people from moving forward and helps them to overcome them.
Public Improvement Award – Pen Bay Medical Center
This award recognizes a person, organization, or business that makes a major improvement that benefits the general public.
Last September, Pen Bay Medical Center opened a 1¾ mile trail around their campus as a community wellness trail open to the public. The trail has received constant use, and has received rave reviews from the community, and hospital staff, patients, and families.
Small Business of the Year Award – Maine Coast Weddings & Special Events
This award honors a business of fewer than 50 employees that is making a positive contribution to the community and is recognized by peers as a leader in what they do. Has a commitment to excellence, and has been in business for at least 5 years.
The company was cited for its outstanding customer care, as well as their dedication to charitable organizations. Owners Linda Lewis and Kristin Falla support many charitable causes, including providing prom attire to teens in need, raising funds for Special Olympics, and donating used formal wear to high school drama departments.
Beacon Award – Farnsworth Art Museum
This award recognizes a person, business, or organization that has attracted significant positive regional or national attention to the Penobscot Bay Region, resulting in a rise in local economic activity.
The Farnsworth brought significant regional and national attention, as well as increased tourism traffic to our region with their series of exhibitions celebrating the centennial of Andrew Wyeth's birth.
The evening also included a social hour with hors d'oeuvres and cash bar, a plated dinner served by the Samoset staff, and a Gala After Hours celebration with live music provided by the local band, Just Teachers.
The Year in Review Awards were created by Maggi Blue of Warren, and the Community Person of the Year Award was created by Richard Remsen of the Foundry & Glass Studio in West Rockport.
Gala photography was provided by Michael O'Neil of Lincolnville and Aidan Kaczynski of Camden. Video productions were created by VStv of Rockport.
Several businesses provided sponsorship support for the Gala: Camden National Bank (Gold sponsor), Eaton Peabody (Gala After Hours sponsor), LCI (Wine sponsor). In addition, Wallace Events, Fiore Artisan Olive Oil & Vinegars, and the Samoset Resort were event supporters.
About the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce:
The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and tourism in the Camden/Rockland Region, encompassing more than 20 communities within and surrounding Knox County. To learn more, visit www.CamdenRockland.com.