2013-12-20 / Front Page

Voting for Great Person Award begins now

By Molly Lovell-Keely
Managing Editor

Nominations have ended for the Sentry’s Great Person Award and voting will continue this week, and end at noon Friday, Jan. 3. Each year, readers choose one person they think has made our communities a special place to live. e winner will be interviewed for a newspaper article.

Sherre Maynard, a South Portland resident, nominated fellow South Portland resident Russ Lunt Sr.

“Russ worked 34 years for the South Portland Public Works Department before retiring in 2011. While employed with the city he trained most of the new drivers how to plow and sand the streets of South Portland, along with other responsibilities of the public works department. He also enjoyed taking the huge plow trucks to the local schools where the children enjoyed asking questions and having the opportunity to sit behind the wheel and, of course, to blow the horn.

“Most recently Russ was spending his retirement as a strong advocate for the new municipal services facility on Highland Avenue. Russ often talked of the great guys that he worked with at the public works garage and he wanted them to have a topnotch facility to work from and a safe place for the citizens of South Portland to visit. He was extremely happy when the bond passed and he knew the great people of South Portland would support it.

Russ was born and raised in South Portland and he truly loves this city along with the people who live here and I am sure there are many South Portland residents who will remember Russ as being the plow driver who would greet them with a wave and a big smile as he worked tirelessly clearing their streets. Please take the time and consider voting for Russ as I believe he is truly deserving of this great award.”

Adrian Dowling nominated former South Portland Mayor Patti Smith.

“Patti has done so much to help make South Portland a vibrant and healthy place to live. She has served on the city’s sustainability team, the open space committee, the community garden group, the farmers market advisory committee and several other boards and committees. She represented the city with dignity and decorum as mayor, and she continues to serve with thoughtfulness and dedication as the District 2 city councilor. We are fortunate to have such a tireless, caring, dedicated person who generously puts so much time and effort into sustaining and improving our community,” wrote Dowling, a South Portland resident, in her nomination.

South Portland resident Chuck Igo has nominated who he calls a “dynamic duo” for the Great Person Award – Steve and Jane Filieo. Though they live in Scarborough, Igo says “For the past 24 years (and this year marks their 25th), they’ve eaten probably as many meals in South Portland as the producers/directors of the annual South Portland High School musical as they’ve done in their own house. “

“Running the gamut from timeless classics such as ‘The Music Man,’ ‘Hello, Dolly,’ ‘Guys & Dolls,’ ‘Peter Pan,’ ‘Grease’ and ‘Bye, Bye Birdie’ to contemporary favorites including ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Footloose,’ ‘High School Musical,’ ‘Les Miserables’ and this year’s bold undertaking, ‘Shrek: The Musical,’ Steve and Jane put untold hours into each year’s endeavor. I like to call them ‘my favorite cat-herders.’ Each year, the two conduct a perfect example of reverse engineering: they first audition the students to get an idea as to what each can bring to the stage in terms of presence, personality, acting and of course, vocals. then they pick the show. Once the rehearsals are underway, they create a family-atmosphere that must be experienced to be understood. Along the way, that understanding is possible by becoming a part of the extended family in the form of stage crew and volunteers who at first roll up their sleeves to help, and then somehow find themselves trapped (in a good way!) and keep coming back to help, long after their own children have graduated. Even graduates come back each year to help with set construction, painting, box office and more. My family is one of many who consider Steve and Jane our own – and it is with deep respect and much love I submit this nomination.”

Lisa Fitzgerald nominated fellow South Portland resident Denise Michaud, who started SOPO 365 Jan. 1, a photo-a-day project.

“Every day this year she has given her followers a beautiful picture of the city they love along with the story behind the picture. The pictures and descriptions cover every aspect of South Portland: the gorgeous coastline, the spirit of Red Riot athletic events, the history of the monuments and statues, all the summer events, the serenity of Hinckley Park, the first snow, the excitement of Red’s opening day, the quirky lawn ornaments of our neighbors, the joy of kids playing on a (South Portland) street, and the beauty of the airport at night. Everything in South Portland has been covered – big and small,” Fitzgerald wrote. “Denise has artfully captured the city of South Portland. She has reminded all her followers, from life long residents, to new residents, to people who have moved away, why we love this city so much.”

South Portland resident Debi Puffer has nominated Helen, an employee at Hannaford in Mill Creek.

Helen is regularly seen positively impacting the community. She delivers predictable smiles as she engages with the public. We often choose to wait in a longer line at Hannaford if it means that Helen is our bagger.”

Finally, “Robert” Rob Sellin, a South Portland resident, was nominated by Janice K. Doctor, also a South Portland resident, “For his tremendous effort in trying to keep the tar sand oil out of South Portland.”

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