2021 competitive award winners

2021 Maine Volunteer of the Year

Portrait of Luc Nya

  • Name: Luc Nya
  • Volunteer’s hometown: Saco, Maine
  • Organization: University of Southern Maine
  • Organization location: Portland
  • Years of service: 7

Submitted Narrative of Service:

I wrote on the nomination form that Luc is my colleague, in reality he's my boss but to meet him you would never know. To Luc Nya everyone is equal. He gives the same respect, time, and attention to any person he meets. Luc is the Chair of our Board of Visitors at USM and I have had the pleasure of serving as Secretary to the Board. When I first met Luc I saw a giant of a man in a well-dressed suit, my hand disappeared in his palm and I sunk into a chair. This intimidating situation quickly faded as his smile and presence filled the room. I no longer felt I was meeting my new boss, I was catching up with an old friend who was now a colleague. My lasting impression was when he said "we have some work to do". This wasn't "you" or "they" have some work to do, it was "we". The BOV Chair position is voluntary, a role to most that takes a few mornings a year and looks good on a resume. For Luc, like in everything he does, it's an opportunity to make a difference. He did not want to sit back, have reports presented, and rubber stamp with approval. He has overseen a transformation by rolling up his sleeves and by doing what needs to be done. As Chair, Luc leads bi-monthly meetings and represents the University at monthly University of Maine System Board of Trustees meetings. He's has seated and co-Chairs 2 groups, the Global Talent Initiative and New American Credentialing Committee, which are working to eliminate barriers for new Americans with previous experience but that do not have the correct licensing to practice. He has assisted as we reviewed our Public Safety department on campus. Our Student Government asked if they could be invited to our last meeting to solicit advice and direction from Members and Luc was the first person to raise his hand. He has gone out of his way to go to additional meetings, additional groups, to whoever asks for a moment of his time. He is a role model as a volunteer and a role model as a human being. I unequivocally believe he is deserving of Maine's Volunteer of the Year.

Letter of support: Glenn Cummings USM President

As the President of the University of Southern Maine (USM), it is my unequivocal pleasure to nominate Luc Nya for the Maine Volunteer of the Year award. As a professional and as a man I have never met someone more caring, compassionate, and dedicated to the wellbeing of others. It was instilled in me early that the most important thing you can give to another person is your time. When I look at my schedule for the day and try to find moments to eat or just think outside of a meeting, those are the moments Luc gives to others. I have had the honor of knowing and working besides Luc for five years, first as a member and currently as the chair of USM’s Board of Visitors where he has led a transformational shift, taking an unconnected roster of 20 volunteers and renewing their hope and involvement in higher education. USM has felt the revived spirit with BOV members taking active roles; working with internal groups and providing insight and guidance to our students.

Luc’s influence was instrumental in USM forming a task force to review USM’s Public Safety model on campus, while concurrently leading a group (Global Talent Initiative) of faculty, staff, students, and external partners to review barriers new American’s face while trying to enter into the University. Coming to Maine from Cameroon, Luc has provided key insight on what new Americans are feeling; leaving a career, life, and everything they’ve known to begin again and providing understanding that western definition of mental health may be foreign to immigrants and refugees. This work he is leading could be transformational to Maine, higher education, and the country as we move forward.

Our connection at USM has provided me an opportunity to see the other sides that make up this incredible human. Professionally, Luc is a children’s behavioral health program coordinator at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Child and family Services in South Portland where he works to ensure that health/behavioral health needs of youth involved in the juvenile justice system are met in the least restrictive settings. Prior to this, he served as the Multicultural Services Coordinator in the Office of the Multicultural and Immigrant Services (OMIS). His unique experiences working for both DHHS, and OMIS has led to his partnership and Board position with the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF), which works to “promote access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved and improve the health of everyone in Maine.” These are positions and responsibilities that do not live within the traditional 9-to-5 workload. If I were to estimate the amount of time Luc gives I would find myself searching for extra days in the week to make the numbers work. Thank you for the opportunity to share my support of Luc Nya. Given his dedication and commitment to helping others I believe he is deserving of the honor of being recognized as Maine’s Volunteer of the Year.

Watch remarks below from the ceremony

2021 Young Maine Volunteer of the Year

Portrait of Shawn Jiminez

  • Name: Shawn Jiminez
  • Volunteer’s hometown: West Gardiner
  • Age: 15
  • Organization: Gardiner Area High School
  • Organization location: West Gardiner Years of service: 2
  • Hours volunteered each year: 200

Submitted Narrative of Service:

Shawn Jiminez has been a very active member of his community throughout the past couple of years. Shawn has served with the Gardiner Area High School Civil Rights Team and Interact Club consistently (with special projects initiated after the pandemic hit). Within these two clubs alone, Shawn has worked on several projects. Some of the most impactful ones in the past year (many of which worked to help those impacted after the pandemic hit in March, 2020) include the Covid-19 friendly Trunk or Treat (which gave kids a safe environment to get candy at Halloween), the Gender Neutral Bathroom project (which is currently working towards creating a safer and more friendly environment in the school), Operation Christmas (which helped provide gifts to families that were hurt financially by the pandemic), Valentines Day Cards for hard working community members (who have worked effortlessly during the pandemic), and city/town cleanups. Shawn's efforts in the past year have helped hundreds of people across many parts of Maine. He has helped battle food insecurities in Gardiner (with the Tiger Food Pantry), worked to create a healthier planet (in areas overlooked during the pandemic), mentored students (through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maine) that might not have a positive influence in their life, and has worked to create a better environment for students around him. In the past year, Shawn also started up the first PETA X SOS (students opposing speciesism) hub in the state, attempting to create a community that works toward animal rights. Shawn has volunteered a lot in the past years, but that is not the main reason why he deserves the Youth Volunteer of the Year award. What sets him apart is his leadership in service, getting several of his peers to also help create better communities around them. Shawn is selflessly dedicated to helping those around him (even if it means sacrificing something personal), which is why he is qualified for this title.

Letter of Support: Raye DeSoto, Teacher

Shawn Jiminez, is a dedicated determined young volunteer. His leadership, time management, work ethic and organizational skills have allowed him to fully participate as a volunteer and become a leader in a wide variety of activities as well as maintain academic excellence since his Freshman year.

Shawn has amassed over 250 community service hours. Currently he is the secretary of the GAHS Interact Club (youth Rotary) and helps to run and organize our community food pantry, takes meeting minutes, sends handwritten thank you letters to donors, organizes our Induction Ceremony, and stays in constant communication with the club members. This year alone Shawn has helped to plan a COVID safe Trunk or Treat for area children, two beautification days for Gardiner, prepare 25 Christmas dinner baskets and gifts for all the family members, and create 28 May Day baskets for residents of a local nursing home. He is also a member of the Civil Rights Team, a student director for my middle school theater group, is the secretary/Treasurer of the GAHS Drama club, and recently a leader in the Tigers and Cub group mentor younger elementary students weekly. In each of these organizations he actively participates. He continually asks what can be done for our community then forges a plan to meet the need. Shawn is a vibrant vocal leader as a volunteer. He is able to organize his classmates and fellow club members despite varying options and skills. Shawn has also learned to recognize when he should take a step back as a leader to allow other student's strengths and experiences as leaders grow too.

With these skills he is able to encourage and bring more volunteers to the different organizations he belongs too. I highly recommend Shawn Jiminez as a motivated, passionate volunteer.

Letter of Support: Christina Benedict Teacher

When Shawn asked me to write on his behalf and went on to explain what this award means, I felt as though it was intended for him all along. Shawn exemplifies “active citizenship” by the way he lives his life. He is the type of student whose hand is always the first to go up when volunteers are requested, regardless of the task. If he can somehow give back to our school community or district, he chooses to do so, making that his mission. Since the fall of 2019 Shawn has actively participated on our Civil Rights Team, signing up for several committees and projects along the way, most recently including groups focused on inclusivity -- one that is looking to have a gender neutral bathroom designated in our building, and another that is meeting with our principal about updating our school dress code. Despite the pandemic, our CRT has continued to meet every two weeks, even during lockdown -- Shawn has been a vital member of those sessions and continues to work to make his peers feel safe, welcome, and respected at GAHS. Shawn has also become a member of Interact, a Rotary-sponsored group dedicated to community involvement among youth. Dovetailing with the work of our CRT, much of what Shawn takes part in through Interact results in raising awareness and raising spirits -- just a few Saturdays ago I drove past him and some peers as they walked around Gardiner and filled bags with trash found in the streets, beautifying our town on a chilly spring morning. Shawn also just finished participating in our new mentoring program -- Tigers & Cubs, which paired 10 elementary children with high school students who met virtually with them on Wednesday mornings and helped the little ones make important connections with their new heroes, all in an effort to reduce isolation during the pandemic. Additionally, he was elected as Secretary/Treasurer of our Drama Club for next year, showing how varied his interests are and how dedicated he is to them. Nothing Shawn does is passive -- he is a responsible, dedicated young man clearly eager to leave his mark on the MSAD11 community. He is your Young Maine Volunteer of the Year.

Watch remarks below from the ceremony

Outstanding Volunteer Team

collage of 9 individual portraits

  • Recipient: Vaccine Volunteer Assistance Team
  • Organization: Southern Maine Agency on Aging
  • Organization location: Biddeford
  • Team Members:
    • Mary Hadlock
    • Nancy Goddard
    • Pat Lennox
    • Sheila Reid
    • Vicki Durrell
    • Fred Ronco
    • Blake Kehler
    • Stephanie Vary
    • MaryAnn Lawton
    • Sue Ellen Muse
    • Peter Bridgman
    • Susannah Striker
    • Ann Milliard
    • Steve Murphy
    • Stephanie Takes-Desbiens
    • Rachel Bolduc
    • Bill Hall
    • Therese Johnson
    • Lorraine LaChapelle
    • Mary Bruns
  • Time Serving: less than a year

Submitted narrative of service:

It is with great pleasure that I would like to nominate the Southern Maine Agency on Aging Vaccine Volunteer Assistance Team for the Governor’s Award for Service and Volunteers - Outstanding Volunteer Team. This team is made up of 19 volunteers, most of whom have been assisting the agency and its mission for several years. The team was formed in a matter of days at the beginning of Feb. 2021 to “staff” a vaccine assistance call line and provide individuals with accessing information on vaccines and to help schedule individuals with vaccine appointments. SMAA partnered with Northern Light HomeCare & Hospice to provide individuals having difficulty with accessing vaccine with appointments at pop up clinics in Southern Maine. Pop up clinics have been held in Waterboro, Bridgton, Kennebunk, Biddeford, Cornish, Limington and South Portland. Some of these individuals have no access to the internet, have difficulty traveling far distances, have mobility issues and need the vaccine administered at the car, are in diverse populations or are homebound. This team has been providing phone coverage of 1-4 volunteers/day Monday-Friday for the past three months. They have received 2,610 calls, scheduled 1,600 vaccine appointments, and have referred 307 homebound individuals to receive vaccine in the home. The team returned phone calls, sometimes trying callers multiple times to reach them. The team members accessed resource information, waitlists if needed, and schedules via google docs so more than one individual can access the documents at a time. Many of the volunteers report the relief and gratitude expressed by individuals with being able to access appointments after having been isolated from others for so long and having been fearful about getting COVID. Callers described how challenging it was to navigate multiple websites looking for vaccine appointments and others stated they did not have access to the internet to get on waitlists. Individuals were so grateful to get a call within one day of having left a message and having a live person to talk to/provide validation for what they have been through. One volunteer expressed the following regarding making these calls- “One of my lasting impressions when I first started making vaccination appointments was the emotional intensity of people's reactions to my call – well beyond just frequently expressed gratitude and multiple ‘thank yous.’ Some people gasped with surprise and relief when they learned they could get an appointment in just a few days. Some people thanked me profusely as if I was the reason for their great fortune.” Volunteers described these phone calls as being even more than a vaccine appt. but about making a true connection with someone else after a long time of isolation, staying on the phone for a while sometimes just talking. When a caller identifies other needs and expresses interest in receiving support, these volunteers have been sure to refer the callers to agency staff to follow up. The team assisted a couple with getting vaccine appointments; they were so impressed with the clinic they returned after being fully vaccinated many times to clinics to volunteer and help others. Some of the volunteers on this team has also volunteered at the vaccine clinic sites as well. Throughout this time there have been so many changes related to vaccine accessibility/distribution/call volume/eligibility which affected this work. This team continues to demonstrate so much patience, flexibility and understanding, pivoting on short notice to help meet the needs of the callers and the program. SMAA staff continued to receive inquiries and referrals for individuals needing information on resources such as home care, housing, transportation, Medicare, tax assistance, etc. We would have never been able to assist nearly as many individuals without the support of this vaccine team. One of SMAA’s main goals is to support older adults and adults with disabilities who have the most need and this special group of volunteers most certainly accomplished this goal with the vaccine assistance, providing hope and safety to so many community members in Maine.

Letter of Support: Doug Wilson Plummer Senior Living

The 36 residents of a senior living facility in the Portland area were growing increasingly anxious about when they would receive the COVID-19 vaccination. As an independent congregate living facility, there was an understanding that a list of these types of nonmedical facilities existed, but there was no indication when a clinic would be scheduled for the group. Over 40% of the residents are over the age of 85, however few had been able to get vaccinated. Most were on multiple waiting lists but the uncertainty of when they would be vaccinated was creating a great deal of stress. Residents mostly stayed in their apartments – they had managed through the pandemic so far, as a community, by being extremely careful and mindful of their responsibility to all living under the same roof.

By the time the vaccine eligibility for those over 65 was announced, still over 50% the residents at this facility had yet to receive their first shot. As the Resident Resource Coordinator, I made aware by the SMAA team of the partnership with Northern Lights and that volunteers were standing by to assist clients in getting appointments. Within days, the majority of the remaining residents were scheduled. The residents of this independent senior living facility could not have been more grateful to the SMAA team and volunteers who made this happen. The entire atmosphere within this small community of older adults changed dramatically from one of uncertainty and anxiousness to one of hope. Residents began to plan for when they might actually be able to hug their grandchildren and once again, gather together as a community to enjoy the shared meals and social connections that brought them to this facility in the first place.

Letter of Support: Colleen Hilton, SVP President Norther Light HomeCare & Hospice

It is my great pleasure to write a letter of support in honor of the volunteers at Southern Maine Agency on Aging, SMAA. We have been most fortunate to have them as partners these past few months.

Early in January our Associate Vice President of Home Health Services, Leigh Ann Howard, recognized the need to reach people living in remote areas in the Western part of Cumberland and York Counties to provide vaccination clinics against COVID-19. In many of the areas elderly residents had been isolated for almost a year and were in no way going to drive 50-60 minutes to secure a vaccine. She then reached out to SMAA and found that they were getting many calls from their constituents worried about vaccine access. Thus, a good working relationship became a solid partnership. Within a few days of the very first discussion a plan was outlined. Northern Light Home Care & Hospice would dedicate a certain number of their vaccine allotment for “pop-up” clinics for those with limited access. SMAA would publicize the clinics and mobilize their volunteers to take reservations for those in need. Their volunteers would also assist at some of the clinics when Northern Light volunteers where in short supply. Clinics were held two and three days each week in Waterboro, Cornish, Limington, Kittery, Biddeford and more.

The SMAA volunteers worked flawlessly allowing us to expand to provide vaccine to the homebound and to health equity clinics. They were well guided and rose to every occasion. They are a dedicated group and worthy of recognition.

Watch remarks below from the ceremony

Outstanding National Service Volunteer

Portrait of Clara McCool in a beach setting

  • Name: Clara McCool
  • Organization: AmeriCorps Resilience Corps/Greater Portland Council of Governments

Submitted service narrative:

In just a few short months, Clara has helped stand-up and support two different municipal broadband planning committees - all volunteer-driven committees in rural and unserved areas.

Her work has not only directly enabled more technical knowledge and organizational capacity to the committees, but has directly influenced how other towns in the region think about their volunteer engagement and broadband expansion efforts.

Part of her role has been to help the communities trial new and innovative ways to collect data to inform how well the internet performs and who provides the service in their areas. This technique of "crowdsourced speedtesting" was piloted by Clara and her community volunteers and now has been scaled throughout the state generating 22,000 data points reflecting over 15,000 volunteers.

All of this work is in service to expanding digital equity and access to functional, high- speed internet across the state of Maine.

Watch remarks below from the ceremony

Excellence in Youth Service Development

Portrait of RayeAnne DeSoto

  • Recipient: Raye DeSoto
  • Organization: Gardiner Area High School
  • Time of service: 3 years
  • Number of youth serving in program: 41

Service narrative submitted:

I am nominating Raye DeSoto for the Excellence in Youth Service Development award. Mrs. DeSoto is deeply rooted in the community of Gardiner, but her impact has truly left a mark on people across the state of Maine. She works countless hours past her normal work day, and her determination is inspiring, especially to the students that she teaches. She currently leads the Gardiner Area High School Interact Club (sponsored by Rotary International). The club started back in 2018, and has gained some major traction throughout the years. Through the club, Mrs. DeSoto teaches all of her students the importance of serving in their community. However, it goes far beyond serving, with students learning how to be role models and respectable leaders in their communities (which they take with them far after graduation). The impact on the students can be seen through club engagement across the years. The program, which is completely optional, has gained several new members (reaching a total of about 41 active members in one year). The whole motto of the Interact club is "Service above Self", which has been shown by students under Mrs. DeSoto's leadership. The students take part in self-led activities, all of which are chosen by the students. It all starts when a problem is seen in the community, which is presented at a weekly meeting. The whole club then brainstorms ideas to help resolve or positively impact the issue. Mrs. DeSoto deserves this award because she continuously teaches all of the students how to become independent leaders. Some of the activities that have been done (or are continuing) under her direction include Operation Christmas (a project put together to help kids and families who are not financially stable enough to provide gifts under the tree at Christmas), Valentines Day Cards for hard-working people (such as police and first-responders) in the community, and the weekly GAHS Tiger Food and Clothes Pantry (providing many families both in and out of Gardiner with free food, supplies, and clothes). The service has not stopped during the pandemic, with students finding ways to create positivity in the community. One of the largest activities during the pandemic was the Trunk or Treat, which provided a safe environment for people to come get candy like normal. There was a large turnout, with no Covid-19 cases contracted from it, allowing parents and children to find a glimpse of happiness in a world currently surrounded in negativity. Without Mrs. DeSoto's dedication to teach these students to serve in their community and make a positive impact, the community would have been without several successful projects.

Letter of Support: Student from Gardiner

Raye DeSoto is the right person to be awarded the Excellence In Youth Service Award. This is because she is the lead founder of GAHS’s Interact Club; an extension of Rotary that is dedicated to getting students involved in doing community service.

Through this club, she has helped me and many other students grow as leaders in helping our community. The community service projects we do are students’ ideas and have impacted the community greatly. Mrs. DeSoto guides us to get our ideas enacted in our community by doing things like getting us rights to use areas for our projects, getting support from Rotary, and getting superintendent approval when needed.

Personally, my biggest experience with Mrs. DeSoto has been becoming the Interact Club’s treasurer. She has always been there for every part of learning about how to manage the role and I owe all my knowledge on the role to her. She would be there for any questions I had or help I needed and she has grown me to the point where I am now able to manage virtually all of the treasury responsibilities of the club. This has given me an opportunity to experience the responsibilities I might come to hold in a community in the future.

This award represents the mentoring and development of independent young leaders, which Mrs. DeSoto does constantly. She has helped many students, like me, achieve and become confident in their pursuit of helping others around them. After several years of helping students become independent leaders in their communities, I believe that Mrs. DeSoto deserves this award.

Letter of Support: Student from Gardiner

I am not able to communicate how strongly I recommend Mrs. DeSoto for the Governor’s Excellence in Youth Service Development Award. As is true for many other students and young members of the Gardiner community, I was highly fortunate to be taken under Mrs. DeSoto’s leadership as an elementary student, where I have since remained to today as a senior in high school.

Over the years, my relationship with her has taken many different forms, from the classroom to our personal lives. I work for Mrs. DeSoto outside of the classroom as her dog sitter, and I can confidently say that her treatment of others is undeniably reflected in her treatment of her animals and loved ones. This past year, I have been blessed to be in a small AP Seminar class of only six total students which is being taught by Mrs. DeSoto. As she does with many other aspects of life, Mrs. DeSoto saw an opportunity to better our school district and student’s lives with the addition of this new class, and she trained for countless hours over the summer to achieve a level where she was able to teach the content to us. Not only does she show all of us here at Gardiner Area High School what a true community member looks like, she creates opportunities for all of us to participate and give back as much as possible, too.

In addition to AP Seminar, I am also a part of the Interact club and worked closely with Mrs. DeSoto as club President for two years. Her excitement and joy that comes with serving others is unmatched, and seeing her face light up when our club served our community truly showed how deep her love for the Gardiner community really is. I am forever grateful for the impact that she has had on my life as a student, community member, and person in general. Once again, I highly recommend her for this award and believe that no one truly deserves this as much as she does.

Watch remarks below from the ceremony

Excellence In Volunteer Administration

Photo of Delilah Poupore

  • Name: Delilah Poupore
  • Organization: Heart of Biddeford
  • Location: Biddeford
  • Years of service: 10 years
  • Number serving in the program: 175

Submitted service narrative:

Heart of Biddeford is a volunteer-driven community organization whose efforts and programming stem from the ideas and solutions proposed by the collaborative volunteering committee members and Board of Directors. As Executive Director, Delilah Poupore’s warm personality and solid leadership has ingrained into the organization’s cultural principals the values that every individual’s ideas are welcomed and whole-heartedly considered for HoB programming, that inclusivity remains interwoven into the fabric of the region, and that empathy is the pillar of the community.

Delilah maintains a close synergy with our board members, who are recruited from the pool of top volunteers and key stakeholders representing a diversity in age and background. Delilah’s exemplary leadership and positive attitude serves as a model for the board Committee Chairs, who practice the same leadership principles, which thereby consequently draws in a loyal volunteer attendance and reciprocal dedication to HoB. Our synergized volunteer committees have brainstormed, researched, planned, and implemented major projects such as the iconic Downtown Holiday Lighting scheme, which has expanded over the past four years in scope, budget, volunteer engagement, city council support, visibility and tourism, and has amplified town morale. Delilah contributed to the success of this project by encouraging autonomous brainstorming and open discussion by volunteers, and by pinpointing the potential sources to fund and enhance the project.

For larger-scale events, such as the River Jam Festival, Winter Fest, or the Community Souper, Delilah works with over 175 volunteers from throughout the region, including students from the University of New England. Their involvement in HoB events is a terrific opportunity for them to find connection with their town, to feel satisfaction for the good that they are bringing to the world, and to establish a professional and friendly network with other members of the community. Delilah serves as a role model during community events when she demonstrates a hands-on, can-do involvement in facilitating set up, roll out, and break down of the full event, all arm-in-arm with her volunteers. To honor these 175 volunteers, Delilah organizes a Volunteer Appreciation event on a yearly basis, heralding and bringing together all volunteers with an evening of food, entertainment, and a warm thanks for all that they have done to help the community thrive. Finally, Delilah stays abreast all local award and nomination opportunities for which top volunteers may be eligible, and dedicates time to prepare the nomination applications for those volunteers, in hope of securing recognition for their excellence in service.

Delilah’s positive leadership and openness to all individuals has laid the foundation for a community organization that operates on the principle that the volunteer is the driver of programming. This principle, coupled with her warm personality and can-do spirit, has inspired numerous volunteers to harness their skills in ways that can enrich Biddeford for years to come.

Letter of support: Amy Grohan

I am delighted to submit this letter in support of the nomination of Delilah Poupore for the 2021 Excellence in Volunteer Leadership award.

As the Director of Heart of Biddeford (HoB) since 2011, Delilah has proven herself to be an exceptional leader whose many accomplishments have contributed to the well-being, visibility and success not just of her organization, but her community and the State. Delilah is an innovator who embraces new opportunities with enthusiasm and an eye toward progress and inclusivity. She is focused on getting things done and inspires others to collectively tackle big projects and difficult issues with a grace and skill that supports change and solves problems.

HoB was one of the first Maine non-profits to apply to sponsor an AmeriCorps VISTA Member (Editor’s note: HoB was the first downtown revitalization projects in Maine to host a VISTA member). This program continues to provide HoB administrative capacity and increased community presence.

Biddeford was the first community in Maine and the first Main Street organization nationally to participate in the Orton Family Foundation’s Community Heart and Soul process in 2011. HoB and Biddeford continue to be viewed as a national model for how a community can bring together a diverse range of viewpoints to make meaningful decisions. Delilah is known for being a skilled and strategic planner, and for her ability to accomplish things quietly without expecting public credit. The highly regarded Maine tourism web site www.mainstreetmaine.org could not have been completed without Delilah leading the efforts of 10 Main Street organizations and the Maine Downtown Center.

In 2018, Delilah spearheaded the effort that won a $150,000 Partners in Preservation grant through the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express to restore the iconic clock tower atop Biddeford’s City Hall. More recently, when the Maine Downtown Center was given the opportunity to apply for funds from the Historic Commercial District Revolving Fund (HCDRF) at the National Main Street Center, Delilah immediately jumped on board, recognizing this as a significant opportunity to continue to heighten the value of historic preservation in Biddeford.

Delilah's ability to engage and involve people has been essential to the incredible progress made in Biddeford. Her balanced, compassionate leadership style is something we can all learn from.

Letter of support: Mayor Alan Casavant

As Mayor of the City of Biddeford, I have known Delilah Poupore, the director of the Heart of Biddeford, for the past ten years. Without Delilah and her volunteers, my role as Mayor of this city would have been much more difficult, and the people of this city would have missed out on many opportunities.

Delilah is extremely well organized and wonderfully creative. In combination, those two attributes create a dynamic situation in any organization, but Delilah's leadership skills, coupled with compassion, integrity, and thoughtfulness have molded Heart of Biddeford into a truly representative figure of its name.

In today's world, finding and keeping volunteers is incredibly difficult. Often, in Biddeford, the same people donate their talents and time to various organizations and entities. When the individuals retire, finding their replacements is difficult. There is an exception to that trend: Heart of Biddeford. Whether it is decorating the downtown with Christmas lights, organizing the Memorial Day parade, or finding individuals to brave the cold of Winterfest, HOB consistently has volunteers who are willing and able to help. I credit Delilah for creating the environment that attracts and retains those individuals. Yes, she makes things more "fun", but her personality is so embracing and caring that she simply makes people feel valued and good at doing what they do. She leads by example, and she leads through her affection for the community and its people.

A direct result of the respect that Delilah has developed is the ongoing funding of HOB by the Biddeford City Council. When Delilah speaks, the Council listens attentively, as she persuasively convinces all listeners of the positive impacts to our community. Delilah has also created strong relationships with members of the Council and has even enlisted some of them in voluntary positions. Not only have they seen HOB in action, but they have witnessed Delilah's leadership and charisma. Her personality is a quiet force that brings out the best in people, even when times are challenging. She is an agent of good, and the city is a much better place because her ability to attract volunteers and get things done. I heartily endorse her nomination for the Excellence in Volunteer Leadership Award. She is remarkable and special.

Watch remarks below from the ceremony