The Town of Gray held its annual 2018 Volunteer & Employee Thank You Celebration on April 17th, 2019 at Spring Meadows
" We are fortunate in Gray to have so many folks in town who understand what it takes to make a great community. Gray’s life blood and vitality is demonstrated by the many volunteers who give of their time to make the place they call home better.
We are fortunate to have so many folks who demonstrate that they care about where they live. Through their efforts to preserve our history, provide to for safety and rescue of our citizens, recycle to preserve our environment, provide recreation areas and activities for our health, work to develop our economic future, and celebrate life with our summer festival.
The passion and desire of these volunteers is a very large component what what makes Gray town to live in.
The personality of this community is demonstrated and strengthened because of our volunteers.
Tonight’s event is to say “thank you” to all who have freely and passionately donated of yourself to make your town a better place now and in the future. By recognizing individual groups and individual contributors we are thanking you for raising the bar of volunteerism by your efforts in this past year.
On behalf of the town of Gray and the Town Council I wish to thank all of you for the gift of yourself to make your community a better place live." - Bruce Foshay, Gray Town Council Chair
The 2018 awards were as follows:
- Evelyn Durgin Award: Joyce Burrow
- Lifetime Achievement: Audrey Burns
- Organization of the Year: Students of the ExCel Class
- Volunteer of the Year: Lorri Hall
- Committee of the Year: Bike Ped Committee
- Spirit of America Nominee: Lacy Antonson
A special thanks to Nate Tsukroff for taking photos of the event and providing them to the Town of Gray and to the Town of Gray’s Cable TV Broadcast Manager, Grant Guiliano, for the special tribute video. The video is available for viewing below, please enjoy!
Each presenter took the time to say heartfelt words about each award recipient. We would like to share them:
From Councilor Sandra Carder for the Evelyn Morrill Durgin Award 2018 Winner: Joyce Burrow
"For the next award, the Evelyn Morrill Durgin Award, I feel as though I do not need to introduce the recipient as everyone seems to know her form her involvement in so many efforts. I am very glad she was able to make it back from Virginia in time to join us this evening.
Joyce has always volunteered wherever she has lived and she has lived in many States! She continued this effort once settled in Gray with her volunteer work for the Dry Mills Schoolhouse, the Library Board of Trustees, the Gray Food Pantry and in various ways through the First Congregational Church. I know from first hand experience, whenever a new task or need arises, Joyce is quick to say "oh, I know someone who may be able.." or "perhaps we can....." or simply "I can help out."
Joyce has amazing people skills and quietly assist whenever anyone asks her for help. She often will end a helping hand when she sees an individual or family in need without prompting. She is an incredibly valuable asset to the Community and, quite frankly, just a very nice person.
Congratulations to Joyce Burrows on receiving the Evelyne Morrill Durgin Award."
From Councilor Jason Wilson for the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Audrey Burns
From Councilor Sandra Carder to the 2018 Organization of the Year Winner: Students of the ExCel Class
"It is with great pleasure I am presenting the Organization of the Year Award tonight.
When we find a group of young people engaged in their Community, seeking ways to get outside, ways to help with projects and ways to help younger students or those less fortunate or struggling, it is quite impressive.
The students of the ExCel program at GNG HS have had a tremendous impact, not only on our community but in surrounding communities as well. The students volunteer weekly at Memorial School for the Reading Buddies program. In addition, once a month, a group of students prepare and serve lunch at Preble Street Resource Center in Portland and a group also works at the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn. These are wonderful contributions, but their efforts do not stop there.
On Nov 1st, the ExCel class partnered with the Community Endowment and Gray Recreation Dept to support a work day at Libby Hill Trails – installing a new bridge, updating signs and cutting a new mountain bike trail. They are also committed to assisting with Spring Clean-up at Libby Hill and Wilkies Beach. In addition, the students are partnering with the Dry Mills Schoolhouse Committee to assist with archiving historical material and will be assisting with tasks related to the Schoolhouse repairs.
I had the pleasure of working with the students on Nov 1st, and not only were they hard working, open to learn and well behaved, they were fun to be around and eager for the next work day.
I love this quote from Rep John Lewis, “What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and its grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible, possible.”
With this group, I believe it. Congratulations to the Students of the ExCel Class and to their two wonderful teachers, Janet Clemons and Gail Myshrall."
From Councilor Bruce Foshay for the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award Winner: Lorri Hall
I’d like to start by sharing a quote from the person who submitted the winning nomination for this year’s Volunteer of the Year… “When I saw the sign posted in front of the Gray Town Hall to make a nomination, her name and face was the first to come to mind.”
What better way to start my introduction?
Our award recipient this year has one of the most well-known faces in our community, simply because she is so involved in so many activities!
She started volunteering at the Snack Shack long before her son was in athletics, and since that son is now in high school, that means she has been doing this long enough to outlast the tenure of several Booster Presidents.
She has been volunteering for the Patriot Parents Book sale since her son was in the elementary school.
Her husband – who is also very active in the town, especially with Youth Football – had this to say: “we all know that much of the support and 'extra' volunteering comes from our partners and spouses. My wife is one of those who is always working hard in the background.”
She is always there to be counted on… at the Patriot 5K… or at the Blueberry Festival. Whenever needed she is available to drive or pick-up children for events… and so much more not mentioned here.
Coming back to the nomination submitted by Celeste Prescott: “She never says 'no' if someone needs help – whether that is formal volunteering or just helping out a fellow parent or community member.”
“She is a wonderful and giving human being, and deserves this recognition of being [such a person]!”
Celeste closes by stating that she is “proud to nominate Mrs. Lorri Hall for “Volunteer of the Year”.
With accolades like these, I am indeed proud… on behalf of the Town of Gray and the Town Council, to name Lorrie Hall as this years’ Volunteer of the Year.
From Councilor Sharon Young for the 2018 Committee of the Year: Bike Ped Committee
From Councilor Bruce Foshay for the 2018 Spirit of America Foundation Tribute Nominee Gray: Lacy Antonson
The Spirit of America Foundation is a state-wide community service recognition program designed to highlight and recognize exceptional town volunteers. Maine communities that participate have the opportunity each year to nominate an individual or group for their outstanding community service. One winner will be selected from this esteemed group of volunteers for recognition and tribute at a state-wide event later in the year.
While the foundation was formed in the early 1990’s in Augusta, our Town Council has just recently voted to join this organization, giving us the opportunity to name our first Spirit of America Award nominee here tonight.
As Karen Fuller says of Lacy Antonson - “this remarkable woman came to town about 5 to 6 years ago and asked the question: Does the town of Gray have a yearly festival?... and she took off from there.”
Fueled by her drive to foster community spirit within Gray, Lacy developed what is now known as the Gray Blueberry Festival. Four years and running strong…, the Blueberry Festival has become the major event of the summer here in Gray, growing each year, drawing just under 2,000 folks in 2018.
But… this isn’t the end of Lacy’s commitment to our community.
She is currently an active member of the Recycling Committee, the Bike-Ped Committee, the Community Economic Development Committee and is once again Chair of the Blueberry Festival Committee. As a member of the CEDC she developed Gray’s much sought after welcome packet. Lacy also participates in many other community functions.
Those of you who were here last year will remember that Lacy was honored as Gray’s Volunteer of the Year for 2017.
Lacy’s ongoing commitment to our community, her boundless energy and leadership skills, combined with her quiet way of motivating teams of volunteers to excel makes her the perfect choice for Gray’s first Spirit of America Award Nominee.
On behalf of the town of Gray and the Town Council, I am proud to be making this award to Lacy here tonight.