2017-12-15 / Front Page

Voting begins for Great Person

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

We’ve asked readers to tell us who has influenced their lives. There were no special qualifications for the Great Person Award nominations – it’s simply to honor those who make this community a special place to live.

The winner will be interviewed for a newspaper story.

The ballot of everyone nominated, pictured on page 2, will be printed in the Dec. 15 and Dec. 23 editions of the paper. Votes will not be accepted via email. However, ballots may be photocopied. More than one person can vote on a single ballot as long as their signatures are included. Voting will end at noon, Wednesday, Dec. 27, and the winner will be announced in the next edition and be interviewed for a story.

Nominees are:

A fifth-grade student at Small School is the first to nominate someone for this year’s Great Person Award.

Reuben Saffer-Meng has nominated bus driver Philip Terrano.

“Phil is many students’ bus driver, but he is more than just that. Every day, he passes out Lifesavers to the students, and although some think it is to reward us for our behavior, Phil says it is just a random act of kindness. Sometimes to liven up the bus ride a bit more, he does “Phil Airlines” in which he pretends that the bus is an airplane, an act all of the students enjoy greatly. He makes realistic remarks such as ‘there may be slight turbulence’ when the road is bumpy, and when we reach the destination he ‘hopes we enjoyed our flight.’

As well as Phil Airlines, every once in awhile, when we have extra time after we get to our destination, he blasts classic rock or disco music and as he sings along to the songs, all of the students have a dance party. These are just a few examples of how Phil brightens our days and deserves the Great Person Award.”

Chris Polizzi of South Portland was nominated by Shantara Polizzi, his mother, and also a South Portland resident.

“Chris is a special person and always has been. He’s good, kind, gentle, compassionate, intelligent and loves good, clean fun and laughter,” Shantara Polizzi writes in the nomination. “He exudes confidence and leadership everywhere without being bossy or pretentious. He’s adored by his coworkers, customers and staff at Lois’ Natural Marketplace as well as his children at home. He is my very special son and I love him dearly. I am so proud of who he is; a joy and asset to all. Thanks Chris for being you, Mom.”

Ed and Kathy DiPhilippo of South Portland have nominated Chuck Igo, a DJ at Rewind 100.9 and South Portland resident.

“He is so much more than that familiar and trustworthy voice on the radio, though,” they write. “Behind the scenes Chuck is one of the most hard-working and community-minded people that we have ever met. We have grown to know him personally through his involvement at the South Portland Historical Society, where you’ll find him taking an active part on the board of directors, conceiving of and leading the society’s ornament fundraiser, serving as master of ceremonies at the Bug Light 5K, flipping burgers all day to raise money at the Bug Light Kite Festival and the Fouth of July, and this year, even donning a costume at the very last minute and reading the Declaration of Independence with flair when our regular volunteer came down ill just before the event.

“For a person who works full time, you’d think that would fill all of his spare time, but the list of Chuck’s contributions to the community keeps going. He leads and executes the annual Stuff the Bus food drive, collecting tons of food and delivering it all to Preble Street. Although his kids have long since left the high school, you’ll still find Chuck there swinging a hammer on the sets of the annual musical. During the Christmas season, you’ll see him ho-hoing as the Santa on the Polar Express at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railway (along with his wonderful family members who serve the hot chocolate).”

The DiPhilippos said they think of anyone more deserving of the Great Person Award than Igo.

“With all of these efforts and more, you’d think he’d spend any little time left relaxing on his couch, but that’s not Chuck. Chuck will be off helping family members with yard work, house repairs, and even babysitting his grandkids. It’s no surprise that Chuck and his wife Debbie have also raised three incredible children. He sets an example for everyone for the kind of person we should all strive to be.

South Portland resident Marie Boynton has nominated her aunt, Elizabeth Boynton of Scarborough, for her generosity and kindness.

“She is always there for me and my children. She is the family member that helps me out with my two children who are ages 8 and 9 years old. I am single so I sometimes need a hand driving them to their activities and she is the one I can call. She also just offers to help me when she sees something that I might want to do with the kids.

“My aunt supports other family members as well as her friends, seniors and animals.”

Marie Boynton describes her aunt as “generous and kind,” a person who cares about other people and living creatures in need.

“She is a great person!”

South Portland resident Victoria Morales was nominated by Maureen and Dilyse Lorello, also of South Portland, who say Morales has been a vital part of the community for many years.

“During this time she has developed numerous courses and activities which have benefited South Portland’s children, neighborhoods and city,” according to the nomination. “she has donated thousands of hours to improving the lives of young people by founding the Maine Youth Court and serving on its board.”

Maine Youth Court is a restorative justice program for first time offenders and the program has had great success in stopping offenders from repeating offenses in the future.

In addition, the South Portland Youth Ultimate Frisbee community has grown expansively under her coaching and guidance, and without her, numerous friends and classmates would not have discovered and loved the sport as much as they do. She has also shaped the lives of children by coaching youth basketball for years with enthusiasm and kindness.

“Victoria is never without a smile on her face and will stop at nothing to bring people together to advocate for their community. She has organized meetings between neighbors, city councilors and developers with a mannerism that makes everyone around her feel respected and comfortable while discussing challenging topics.

“Victoria was instrumental in working to find a solution to the sale of the St. John’s Church property and keeping the character of our neighborhood. She is always willing to help a neighbor in need and this includes celebrating the holidays by organizing Thornton Heights caroling for eight years and counting. This is an activity the neighborhood looks forward to every year as it’s a great way to celebrate the holiday and our great neighbors.

“Victoria continues to make everyone feel valued, and for these reasons we believe that she is supremely worth of the Great Person Award.”

Cape Elizabeth resident Anton “Tony” Wagner was nominated by South Portland resident Jill Blackwood for being an active member and decades long supporter of South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary.

“If Rotary does it, he’s there,” writes Blackwood in the nomination. “He also directs the Sea Scouts and if you are a neighbor in need, he is a roll up his sleeves kind of guy, a Mr. Fixit and an awesome dad.”

Blackwood said she could go on about Wagner, and hopes fellow readers will vote for Wagner for this year’s Great Person Award.

South Portland Board of Education Chairman Richard T. Matthews was nominated by fellow city resident Christine Ward. Besides serving on the board, he is involved in Little League, volunteers for a local food bank and is a caregiver for the elderly.

“Dick is a great husband, father ad son. He goes above and beyond what is asked of him and he is a pillar of the community,” Ward writes in his nomination.

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