2015-01-02 / Front Page

Voting for Great Person ends Jan. 2

By Molly Lovell-Keely
Managing Editor

It’s time to vote for the Sentry’s Great Person.

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 this community 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.

The winner will be interviewed for a newspaper article.

The Sentry’s first nomination for the Great Person Award is for South Portland resident Chuck Igo, who was nominated by fellow resident Kathy DiPhilippo.

“Chuck Igo is truly one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. He embodies the spirit of community and touches the lives of so many. I can only give examples of the things that I see Chuck do,” DiPhilippo said. “He is a very active, contributing board member at the South Portland Historical Society and is always there for us, helping out at our numerous events throughout the year. He spearheaded our current fundraiser – the Bug Light keepsake ornaments that are being sold to support the society and its museum. He is also on the board of South Portland High School’s Dollars for Scholars nonprofit and, although his children are already grown and graduated from our high school, he still is there every year, swinging a hammer to help create and build the sets of the high school musical.”

She said through his work at Rewind 100.9 FM and other radio stations, he has spearheaded the annual Stuff the Bus food drive that collects food and raises money for the Preble Street Resource Center. And, this time of year, one can find Chuck, his wife Debbie and their children and spouses serving hot chocolate on the Polar Express at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad.

“There are so many more things that Chuck does, many of which I don’t see, but I know that he is always there to lend a helping hand to a friend or neighbor. I’ll see glimpses of that through Facebook postings - Chuck helping at the Durham Warriors Survivor Challenge, or helping one of his kids fix something at their house, or shovel someone out, or anywhere else needed,” DiPhilippo said. “He just always seems to be wherever the call for help comes from. When you look at Chuck and his family, you see good people. Chuck Igo truly is the ‘richest man in town’ and our community is blessed that he is here.”

Stormy Little of South Portland has nominated Bill Linnell of Portland.

“I’m choosing to nominate Capt. Bill Linnell because he works with the kids from Long Creek Youth Development Center. He goes in and volunteers his time to mentor them and to give them someone to talk to. The kids also know that they can trust him and know that he isn’t being paid to be there – he’s there because he wants to be,” Little said. “He’s been doing this for well over 10 years. He also takes time out of his own day to help kids who are just recently released or been out for a while to find jobs (he has relationships with many businesses in the community that hire these kids because Bill advocates for them) or to get to appointments. He does not ask for money or anything in return. He is selfless and so kind hearted.”

Little said he also gets the kids to help in the community in Portland and South Portland.

“He tries to help guide these kids and/or young adults to become functioning people in society. He helps these kids get in touch with programs that can help with counseling or housing or rehabs. There is no end to what he will do for the kids or advocate for them,” Little said.

Elizabeth Garnett nominates Mary Lou Fathke for this year’s award. Fathke has been the South Portland city gardener for about 15 years, a position from which she has recently retired.

As city gardener she was responsible for the public plantings and gardens, the plants in and around city buildings and the city’s wonderful trees.

“Mary Lou is a quiet person, and never blew her own horn,” Garnett said. “She grew much of the plants for the gardens in the city greenhouse, planted thousands of bulbs by hand every fall and was tireless in overseeing the maintenance, trimming, planting and watering of all our wonderful gardens.

“Her knowledge of gardening and plants is tremendous and it has resulted in the beauty we all enjoy of the many lovely plantings, trees, flowers and gardens that so greatly add to our City’s beauty. She has, through her expert and meticulous efforts, added great pleasure to the lives of all who live in and visit South Portland. Her magnificent contributions will be with us for years to come.”

Garnett said this spring, when the tulips and daffodils planted this fall in city gardens are in bloom and as you enjoy their show, to remember to thank Fathke “for all the gifts she has given us through her work and her caring. Even though she is now retired, the gifts of her plantings will be with us for many years to come.”

South Portland resident Catherine Dorrington nominated Michelle Danois, the crossing guard for Small School and Brown School, also a South Portland resident.

“She is a lovely woman who takes her job responsibilities very seriously, but does so with a smile and a knock-knock joke,” Dorrington said. “Michelle is extremely dedicated to serving our community and keeping our children safe on a daily basis. She never misses a day of duty, no matter the weather conditions and is best known for her collection of paper windmills.”

Nominations ended Monday, Dec. 15. Voting will end at noon, Friday, Jan. 2, and the winner will be announced in the next edition.

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