2012-12-28 / Front Page

Votes add up for award

By Molly Lovell-Keely
Managing Editor

Nominations for the Sentry’s Great Person Award are in and voting begins today.

Below are those who have been nominated for the award. Voting will end at noon, Friday, Jan. 4, and the winner will be announced in the next edition. The winner will be interviewed for a newspaper article.

A ballot appears on page 4 of this week’s Sentry. Ballots may be photocopied and more than one person can vote on a ballot by including the signature of each person who votes. Ballots must be dropped off at the Sentry office, 1 York St. in Biddeford, or mailed. Voting cannot be done electronically.

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 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 lowincome 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, and is a Southern Maine Community College graduate and talented artist.

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

South Portland resident Julie Bernier was nominated by Pam Pritchard, also of South Portland, for her “passion, devotion and love for the dog community of South Portland. Julie is the founder of Dances With Dogs and has created a environment of learning and safety for the dogs of our community. She is devoted to each dog and provides a daily report of progress and provides tips and feedback as to how our best pals can improve as community members. Julie even provides transportation if you need assistance getting your dog to or from her program. Julie also provides hiking excursions and photographs your dog during his/her day at her school. My dog, Truedee, was in her program for four years and I am truly believe she was instrumental in her development and great socialization success. South Portland has a diamond on Ocean Street. We are blessed to have her talent and tireless energy.”

“My name is Moby Abdullayof and I am 5 years old (my mom is helping me to write this!) I am writing to make a nomination for the Great Person Award.

Moby nominates his Poppa, Momen Abdullay of Cape Elizabeth.

“My Poppa is a pharmacist. He started his own store last year because he really cares about his customers. He helps people who aren’t feeling good and tries to help them get better. My Poppa is my best buddy and is a great person and helps a lot of people,” Moby wrote.

The Cancer Community Center has nominated two people for the Great Person Award. George Lakin is a direct support professional with the STRIVE Program of PSL (Project for Supported Living). In this capacity, Lakin works directly with young adults with disabilities on a range of skills including work skills, literacy and social skills and peer support.

The Cancer Community Center is a local business that welcomes participants from STRIVE one day per week to help with occupational/vocational skills training. For five years, Lakin has helped train and guide young adults with intellectual and emotional disabilities through STRIVE. His patience and reliability is a model for other outreach workers and for human kind.

The second person the center has nominated is South Portland resident Linwood Murphy, a STRIVE participant who attends the day program. Linwood has overcome significant life challenges. When he accompanies Lakin to the Cancer Community Center, he is friendly, conversational and keen to help.

The Cancer Community Center is grateful for STRIVE worker and mentor, Lakin, and for young adults like Murphy, who work to strengthen the community.

Maria Sorensen has nominated Sherrie J. Wagenfeld, the benefits specialist for the South Portland School Department.

“Actually, Sherrie is a great person every year,” Sorensen said.

“(She) is always in a good mood. She is a true team player who goes out of her way to help everyone, often on her own time, every day. During the summer, we had to move out of our office to prepare for renovations. Sherrie organized the move from the office and then back again. Sherrie made sure that all supplies, furniture and equipment were labeled with contents and a destination, which made the move less stressful. Every office should be blessed with a woman such as Sherrie Wagenfeld. Sherrie is an unselfish woman who goes the extra mile for everyone and certainly deserves this award.”

Ted Hellier, a volunteer for the South Portland Recreation Department, was nominated by Sabrina Best, the city’s recreation coordinator.

He has done work as a coach for his son’s basketball teams, assisted with the North Pole Callings and developed the youth lacrosse program.

“Ted has spent countless hours coaching hundreds of boys through the lacrosse program, helping it grow into one of the most popular activities in the community. Even after being diagnosed with cancer, Ted didn’t skip a beat, he continued to coach a group of high school boys’ lacrosse players this past fall as they competed in a tournament in Massachusetts. Ted is not only a great person, but a great role model. A dedicated family man, passionate coach, helpful friend and an inspiration to all.”

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