2012-12-14 / Front Page

Nominations trickle in for Great Person

By Molly Lovell-Keely
Managing Editor

It’s time for the Sentry’s Great Person Award nominations.

Each year we ask our readers to tell us who has influenced their lives. There are no special qualifications for the Great Person Award – it’s simply to honor those who make their communities a special place to live.

Your Great Person may be the person who hands you your morning coffee daily with a smile on her face. It may be the volunteer who works tirelessly for an area nonprofit. It may be a teacher who spends that extra moment helping you, or a police officer who coaches your son’s basketball team. The award is meant to be a thank you for all they do during the year.

Two nominations have been submitted. Debbie Gilman was nominated by Shannon Bennett. Both are South Portland residents.

Bennett said Gilman is “Thoughtful, generous, caring, always offers help,” and is a model mother and citizen.

Judy Magnuson of Small School in South Portland was nominated by Jennifer Christensen of South Portland for her tireless work for the children at Small School.

“In addition to being a top-notch speech therapist, she she is seemingly omnipresent in the building and at school events outside of normal hours. She takes the time to know each child in the school – whether an identified need exists or not. Personally, Judy Magnuson has made an indelible difference while working with my son for the past three years – demonstrated by huge gains in his level of communication and interactions with others that will benefit him for life. She is well-liked amongst the children and highly regarded amongst professionals. Judy Magnuson is one of the best, an unsung hero helping to shape our children’s futures.”

Ellen Dunn of South Portland was nominated by Cynthia Veroneau, also of South Portland.

“Ellen works tirelessly to help serve others in our community and beyond. Ellen is a volunteer for many organizations, such the Holy Cross School library, the Root Cellar and The United Methodist Church. Ellen collects food for the South Portland Food Cupboard, coats for children at her church for the Parkside Neighborhood Association, and sneakers for children in Africa. Last summer she went on a church mission trip with her children to help build up a low-income community in Delaware. She is quite inspiring,” Veroneau wrote.

“Pick up your kids? No problem. Need school supplies for low-income students? Sure, I’ll pick them up. Blankets and kitchenware for a student from Congo? Sure, and I’ll throw in some new socks for him. Not only does she give to the community, but she also actively supports local farmers, farmers markets and local artisans. And to top it off, when I was sick with pneumonia on Thanksgiving, she brought me over pie. More communities need an Ellen Dunn. With two active teenage boys and elderly in-laws, she has her hands full at home, yet she still manages to give to those around her.”

South Portland resident Beth Gerow has nominated Marcie Welsch, also of South Portland, and owner/director of Children’s Time Child Development Center (voted Best of The Best Child Care Service for 2012) in South Portland.

“She founded Children’s Time in 1998 as a home child care and since then has grown it into a fantastic facility serving children ages 6 weeks to 11 years of age. Marcie devotes herself tirelessly to giving each and every child in her care the best possible start to their educational experiences. Marcie is also one of the most dedicated and caring friends anyone could ask for, and I feel so blessed to know her.”

Megan McLeod, 22, of South Portland, was nominated by Leslie Sargent, also of South Portland, for her work at the Boys and Girls Club.

Sargent said she is always willing to help, a Southern Maine Community College graduate and talented artist.

“(She’s) a true community leader,” Sargent said.

The winner will receive a plaque and be interviewed for a newspaper article.

There are two steps in the Great Person Award process – nominations and then voting.

Nominations will be accepted through noon, Monday, Dec. 17. A ballot of everyone nominated will be printed in the Dec. 21 edition. Voting will end at noon, Friday, Jan. 4, and the winner will be announced in the next edition.

• You may nominate a person by using this ballot and mailing it to Mainely Media LLC, 1 York St., Biddeford, ME 04005. We need to know the address and phone number of each nominee and we need to know your contact information in case we have questions (this information will not be printed). Feel free to attach a longer explanation about why you nominated a Great Person.

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