Friday, November 26, 2010

York Announces 2010 Citizens of the Year

The Board of Directors of the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce selected Lorea and Howard Merrill as the winners of the 2010 Citizens of the Year Award. Howard and Lorea are the past owners of Inn Between the Beaches. As an example of their willingness to help their neighbors and as owners of the Inn, Howie and Lo would open their doors to a local person or family in need of a roof over their heads, regardless of the season.
They are very active in the York Lions Club, the St. Aspinquid Masonic Lodge, the York Senior Center and the Union Congregational Church.
Howie has been an active member of the Lions Club since 1983, the same year he received the “Rookie of the Year” award. They have coordinating and/or volunteering at numerous fundraising events for the Lions. They can be seen each Holiday season during the day selling Christmas trees in the village. This year, Howie was awarded the Melvin Jones Award. Lions International recognizes outstanding individuals by bestowing on them an award that is named for its founder, Melvin Jones. This Fellowship Award LCIF is the highest form of recognition and embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of the Lions. The recipient of this award becomes a model because of the exemplary service to his club and the community that it serves.
At the Masonic Lodge, they are involved in diverse projects including blood drives and the operation of the kitchen to coordinating transportation of their lobster bisque to Harvestfest each year. They are involved in preparing and serving community meals throughout the year. They provide lunch for the kids when they come back from the Shriner’s Circus. They started and now coordinate a run each week to the food bank in Alfred to deliver bread from When Pigs Fly and Pepperidge Farm. They recently helped raise $1150 at a Rummage Sale.
Lorea’s individual contributions make their way around our community and literally halfway around the world. She’s always knitting. Whether it’s a blanket for the hospital or dozens and dozens of hats for troops going overseas, the two of them are always reaching out to make the world a better place.
Dr. Nancy Flolid, a member of the Chamber’s board, said, “This couple is the best example of what is great about our town. They have flown under the radar for many years doing good deeds. They never sought recognition for their acts of kindness---they simply believed it’s just what you do---you help each other, whatever it takes! And that is exactly what they have done, quietly and without fanfare.”
The Citizen of the Year nominations are vetted through the Festival of Lights Committee, which forwards up to five nominations to the Chamber’s board of directors for selection of a final recipient. Nine individuals were nominated this year. The Merrills join the ranks of previous Citizens of the Year including Bill & Phoebe Foster, Verna Rundlett, Rosie Lent, Bainbridge Parsons, Pat Bacon, Harold Radochia, Leo & Diane Flynn, Rita Turner, Michael Lee, Alan Junkins, Gordon & Donna Lewis, Rick Mace, Russell Peterson, Marianne Quinn & Fran Koerschner, Betty Kehoe, and Ginny and Dexter Spiller.
The announcement was made at the Chamber’s monthly Icebreaker, which took place on Wednesday, November 17 at Savings Bank of Maine. The Merrills will be the Grand Marshalls of the Festival of Lights Parade on Saturday, December 4 at 4:30pm. The public is invited to attend a reception for the Merrills on Sunday, December 5, from 12:30pm to 1:30pm at The York High School Commons. Past recipients will also be invited. This is an opportunity for the community to come out to congratulate and thank the Merrills for their service to the townspeople of York and beyond. For more information, please contact Cathy Goodwin, President/CEO of the Chamber at 207-363-4422.
Photo caption: Lorea and Howard Merrill, 2010 York Citizens of the Year. (Courtesy photo)