DRIVE: Annual Dinner + Awards + Meeting

 

DRIVE connects community to past, future

 
KENNEBUNK — Wallingford Farm hosted the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner-meeting-awards on Thursday, Sept. 14.
 
This year's DRIVE theme, "Driving toward the future while honoring our past," was a nod to this community's farming heritage, featuring historical interpreters played by Sharon Staz, Faith Gillman and Steve Hrehovcik. In the Wallingford events barn and throughout the grounds there, guests enjoyed a cocktails from Rustic Taps Truck, charcuterie and dessert by Salud Catering, and dinner by Destination Catering. Paul and Sally Wells fiddled away to start the evening, followed by the Waiters on stage under the tent for dancing. Guests could also have their tarot cards read by Mary Beth Bruce under the cornhusk teepee.
 
Following dinner under the tent, the Chamber honored seven outstanding community leaders, including Sue Richardson of Lucky Pup Rescue as Volunteer of the Year;  A Place to Start as Non-Profit of the Year; Arundel Town Clerk Simone Boissonneault as Municipal Employee of the Year; Bentley's Saloon as Business of the Year; Bev and Rick Litchfield for Outstanding Achievement; Old Vines Wine Bar for President's Award; and Tom Bradbury, this year;s Joel Stevens Community Spirit Award winner. Blake Baldwin and Michael Davis of Video Creations created several video presentations for the night, including a special clip for each award-winner.
 
During the annual meeting portion of the night, the Chamber voted in new officers: Chairman Michelle Allen, Vice Chairman Becky Jacobs, Secretary Leslie Roberts and Treasurer Kirsten Camp — plus newest board members, Brad Church, Rachel Pelkey and Ryan Martin. They replace outgoing board members Linda Zuke and Mark Birmingham, plus past chairman Damien Callahan.
 

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: The Volunteer of the Year is an inspiring individual whose character and timeless commitment to the welfare of others and the betterment of the common good have gone above and beyond the “expected”.  As the president of Lucky Pup Rescue, Sue Richardson has inspired many of us to adopt more than 2,000 dogs over the past decade. But, of course, she has done much, much more. She has inspired countless others in New England to volunteer their time and open their homes to dogs in need. She has inspired the rescue’s southern partners to trust their precious cargo coming north in search of new lives. She has inspired scared and often abused dogs to learn to trust again. And just as a mother thinks her child is the most beautiful, so, too, does Sue see the beauty and goodness in every dog she rescues, no matter how scarred or scared. She sees their hearts. When Sue started her work with Lucky Pup, working alongside founder Janet Wendle, she had a dog-free home. Boy, did that change quickly! Over the years, dozens of dogs had their first taste of home life with Sue and her family. And then, in 2008, one very special dog arrived. Arlo was huge, dirty and terrified when he got off that transport truck, but he took one look in Sue’s eyes and he was home. Arlo was Sue’s first adoptee, and her heart dog. And over the next five years he became not only her true companion but an ambassador for the rescue, welcoming new rescues and greeting potential adopters with a wet nose and warm heart. And though Sue lost Arlo three years ago, he continues to inspire her work rescuing others. And that’s why we, on behalf of more than 2,000 grateful dogs and their owners, are proud to present this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award to our friend, Sue Richardson.

NONPROFIT OF THE YEAR: The Chamber's Nonprofit Business of the Year is an organization which, through the efforts of its staff and volunteers, has made a significant contribution in our community. You can find this year's award-winning nonprofit on Main Street in Kennebunk, and many folks pass by without knowing much about the life-changing work that goes on inside. That's because you don't need their help ... until you need their help. Alzheimer's and dementia can still be hushed topics of conversation, so it is the mission of A Place to Start to open the conversation and help families navigate the uncertainties of living with these ever-changing diseases. The journey is always easier when you know where you're going, and this group is so passionate about their work because they've been there. Executive Director Sally Tartre and two of her sisters founded the nonprofit in 2012, the year after they lost their mother Connie to the disease. So Sally speaks from experience when she and her team sit down to listen, providing guidance, understanding, planning, support and coping mechanisms. With their new space, they also now offer almost a dozen different events, such as exercise and art classes, and luncheons and educational programs, as a way of connecting families with each other. All said, they provide thousands of dollars worth of services to our community, every year … but, thanks to sponsors and grants, it's all free of charge to families. By offering this help, A Place to Start provides hope, and that is why we are so proud to present A Place to Start with this year's outstanding NonProfit of the Year Award.

MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR: For 27 years, Simone Boissonneault has been the glue that has held Arundel Town Hall together. A nurse by trade, Simone first ran for the office in 1990, and while the position is appointed now, there’s no doubt she’d have the full support of all the town’s voters should she run again. For while Simone may no longer be working as a nurse, she has brought her nurturing personality to working with both town officials and residents on making elections run as smoothly as possible, whether dealing with issues as thorny as consolidation or as “routine” as annual budgets. In addition, she helps residents with everything from licensing pets to registering to vote, car registrations and marriage licenses, and many things in between. Many stop by town hall asking for Simone specifically, because for decades, she has been the face of town government. Over the years, Simone has had to deal with numerous town managers, and has been a help to each. When Town Manager Keith Trefethen walked in three years ago, she made him feel welcome and supported and it was clear she was knowledgeable in her duties. She really keeps him in line. And that’s why we’re hoping Simone Boissonneault plans to stay another 27 years with us in Arundel.

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: We believe a business is so much more than a profit center, it is about being involved and giving back to your community, and Bentley Warren does just that.  We have known Bentley for many years and worked with him on numerous fundraising efforts.  For the past several years he has worked side by side with many organizations, including The Wounded Heroes Ride for our Veterans.  Something that is important to note about Bentley is that with each ride he doesn’t just offer up his facility, he is involved and cares about each cause.  Many don’t know that Bentley’s claim to fame came long before Bentley’s Saloon.  Not only was he a super modified and Indy race car driver, he also owned and operated Bentley Warren Trucking, Inc.  You can see his history by stepping foot into his private museum, located at his home in Arundel.  In fact, he opened up his home and his museum to host the inaugural Arundel Historical Society Annual Gala this past June.  Working closely with him on this event, Linda Zuke noticed something about her friend, the collection in his museum of the things that he has done and loves, is not just for him, he created this museum for all to enjoy. At his Business After Hours, while giving his speech, he said “When I see all these people here having a good time, it tickles my heart,” and that resonated with Linda.  Bentley owns this Saloon because he enjoys it, which reminds Linda a lot of her father – extreme work ethic, but not because he has to, because he wants to. We cannot forget that behind every man is a strong and smart woman.  Bentley would be the first to admit that he couldn’t do this without Lisa, so we will say it first.  It is with a great honor that we present Bentley Warren and Bentley’s Saloon with this year’s Business of the Year award.

PRESIDENT’S AWARD: To say that Old Vines War Bar is a unique place in our small community is quite an understatement.  Their offerings of fabulous, meticulously made cocktails, sophisticated and approachable wine list, and pallet-pleasing food are just the start of what this establishment truly has to offer.  Rick, Jon and their staff have created a very special vibe that can only be felt by walking through the doors or spending an evening on the patio.  The familiar faces of the staff at Old Vines is incredibly talented, instinctively accommodating, and have a contagious energy as feel as soon as you arrive – almost too hard to put into words as it can truly only be felt.  They give a new meaning to the word teamwork and make everyone feel welcomed as soon as they arrive!  Beyond what they do in their own space, Old Vines has always been a supporter and contributor to the local organizations here in our area.  We am fortunate enough to have worked with them over the past several years on Community Outreach Service’s annual Farm to Fork dinner, where they generously give their time and efforts to help raise money for others in our community that may not be as fortunate.  To sum it up, we are extremely lucky to have them in our midst, and it is a great honor to be able to present Old Vines Wine Bar with this year’s Presidents Award!

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: This award recognizes an individual or group for going above and beyond in contributing to the 3 towns, 1 community the Chamber serves. We think you’ll agree that Bev and Rick Litchfield, through their nearly 40 years of ownership and stewardship of the Captain Lord Mansion, are the true embodiment of this award. Construction began on what we know as the Captain Lord Mansion in 1812. Over the 200 years since it was completed, the building has stood the test of time, serving as a family home to the Lord family and others over the years, until its conversion to an inn in 1972. It was then that a young couple researching business opportunities discovered the Captain Lord Mansion, which had fallen on hard times. They were shown the inn on March 17, 1978. Ninety days later Bev and Rick became owners of the Captain Lord Mansion on June 15, 1978.  Since that time, the Captain Lord Mansion has grown to become one of the crown jewel of the B&B scene in New England. But beyond the beautiful rooms, elegant public spaces and lovely gardens, the Captain Lord Mansion has also served as haven and healing for those in need. Through the generosity of Bev and Rick, the inn plays host to veterans each fall, and, just a short time later, fill all of their 16 rooms with breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. Guests receive a complimentary two-night getaway that includes breakfast, an afternoon reception, chair massages as well as other surprises and gifts – and memories that last a lifetime. Over the years, Bev and Rick have been honored by the Maine Innkeepers Association and National Chamber of Commerce, among others, for their generosity, hard work and standard of excellence. Tonight we honor them as careful stewards of history, wonderful innkeepers and good neighbors. It is our honor to present this year’s Special Recognition Award to Bev and Rick Litchfield.

JOEL STEVENS COMMUNITY SPIRIT AWARD: Joel Stevens had the vision as well as the strong desire to make a difference in our community. He knew by investing time and energy locally this great community would not only be preserved, but flourish. This year’s recipient not only shares Joel’s vision for the community, but he takes that vision to a whole new level. Joel knew this community was special and he recognized the sincere way we care for one another. Joel’s ancestors settled here which helped him to better understand the history and beauty of this area. Joel did everything he could to maintain as well as improve our community. The recipient this year shares Joel’s belief and adds another dimension by physically preserving the beauty of nature and open space to ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the same beauty we see today. Tom Bradbury once mentioned his goal was to encourage more green space and preserve enough land so he could walk from Dock Square to the Biddeford line on conserved land. Looking at a map of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust land holdings, his vision is becoming reality. Tom’s passion for the history and his goal to preserve the natural beauty for eternity is incredible. Tom’s accomplishments to date are nothing short of remarkable preserving significant tracts of land in Kennebunkport as well as being instrumental in setting aside Timber Point and Timber Island for everyone! Take a minute to think back to your childhood when we filled our daylight hours with explorations spawned by our imaginations. A tree house built in the woods became a castle.  We splashed through tide pools looking for creatures and explored the islands in search of treasure. Thanks to Tom our children and their children’s children will always have the same opportunity we had to enjoy this jewel of southern Maine. It is with great pleasure that we present the 2017 Joel Stevens Community Spirit award to Tom Bradbury.