Winslows are chamber’s Citizens of the Year
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce recognized community members contributions of various organizations to Aroostook County during its annual award dinner on March 9.
The Annual Award Night at Northern Maine Community College honored members of the community who have given their time and talent to making Aroostook County an unforgettable place to live in northern Maine.
The chamber handed out five awards: the President’s Award, the Citizens of the Year Award, the Economic Impact Business of the Year Award, the Community Support Business of the Year Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Margot Dyer, former chamber president, presented the 2022 President’s Award to Chamber Treasurer Melissa Dahlgren, who helped process and keep the organization’s finances in check while working as a full-time branch manager at Katahdin Trust.
“This year I opted to take a different approach and I wanted to give the award to someone who flies way under the radar, but whose contributions are critical to the running of the chamber,” Dyer said.
Jaime Guerrette, brand strategist for Thompson Financial Group, presented the Citizens of the Year Award to Lynwood and Jessica Winslow to honor their passion for agriculture and contributions to the Northern Maine Fair.
Lynwood Winslow is president of the fair’s board of directors and weathered the blows from the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the fair for a couple of years, along with navigating challenges of working with new technology to help keep the Fair going.
Jessica Winslow developed the Li’l Farmers at the Fair display, where kids can experience agriculture firsthand, that has been replicated in other state fairs, Guerrette said.
The couple will be coming up with new kid programs for the upcoming Fair this year with Jessica making sure agriculture education is at the forefront.
“It’s very humbling,” Lynwood said. “There are so many people in this community that deserve this award and we are very humbled to be recognized by these businesses and the chamber, and it renews our commitment to this community.”
Josh Tweedie, Big Rock Transportation LLC president, presented the Economic Impact Business of the Year to Big Rock Mountain, which was started by the Junior Chamber in Mars Hill in 1960. Big Rock became a nonprofit organization in 2016, overseen by eight board members.
The ski area is involved in a $5.4 million improvement project, which has included a $2.5 million federal tourism grant and a $2.9 million capital campaign for the construction of a quad chairlift to be installed in 2024.
“The little mountain with a big heart holds a special place with me and I am sure some of you here and others who have visited there,” Tweedie said.
Tom Hale, owner of Hale Tree Farms, presented the Community Support Business of the Year to Haney’s Home, Farm & Garden. Owner Troy Haney’s daughter Kirsten Godin accepted the award on his behalf, as Haney was isolating due to COVID-19.
Godin read Haney’s acceptance speech.
“An award like this speaks more to the team that a person surrounds themselves with, and over 24 years of Haney’s being a company, I have personally been blessed to have some of the best people around me to make everything happen,” Haney wrote.
President and CEO of MMG Insurance Matthew McHatten presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to former president and CEO of MMG Insurance, Larry Shaw.
“I’ve had a lot of people help me along the way and be a big part of my journey,” Shaw said.
Shaw oversaw MMG as it expanded into two new states and became the first insurance company to go paperless. Shaw began the United Way Golf Tournament that has raised $637,000 since it started.
The chamber recognized retiring board members Mary Kate Barbosa and LaNiece Sirois. Michelle MacFarline was recognized as Board Member of the Year.
“I like to thank those who’ve challenged me to step out of my comfort zone,” MacFarline said.
The chamber made 485 business visits with 22 communities, Dyer said. About 36 businesses joined in 2022 and 12 businesses joined its ambassador program to welcome other businesses to the chamber.
The first annual administrative professionals conference was launched with 50 professionals attending on April 27, 2022. The next professionals conference is on April 26 at the Northeastland Hotel.
“We’re lucky to live in Aroostook County and have such a supporting community and those that turn out to support those who are making a difference in our region,” said Ginger Buck, chamber board member.