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Lakes Region Chamber pays tribute to local heroes

May 16, 2012
Members of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce recently announced a new annual celebration to recognize Lakes Region community heroes, with their four annual awards set for May 31 at Gunstock Mountain Resort.

According to Executive Director Karmen Gifford, until now, the annual awards were given at different events throughout the year. She said members wanted to bring the awards together for a community event.

Gifford also announced the 16 nominees for the four awards.

"We received an overwhelming response this year," said Gifford, explaining that the Chamber set out to organize the first annual Community Hero Awards in light of the response from the local community.

For the James Irwin Award, originally awarded in 1964, Gifford said they received 33 nominations and chose Ed Darling, Kathy Calvin, Allan Beetle and Alex Ray as the four finalists.

For the J. Bart Conners Award, Gifford said they received 17 nominations and chose Sandy Marshall, Prescott Towle, Mark Edelstein and Michael Seymour.

Gifford said they received 12 nominations for the Hurst Award, adopted by the Lakes Region Chamber when they merged with the Franklin Chamber. The four finalists are Jim Aberg, William "Billy" Hurd, Melissa Rizzo and Ken Merrifield.

Finally, Gifford announced a new award for 2012, the Young Professionals Award. Gifford said this award is to be given annually to a 25-year-old to 39-year-old who lives and works in the Lakes Region and demonstrates strong community engagement, leadership and development skills and serves as a role model for other young professionals. For this award, Gifford said they received 32 nominations and chose Amanda Amidon, Laura Brusseau, Joel Arsenault and Lindsay Cota-Robles as the four finalists.

Gifford said the Chamber will choose one winner for each award at their Community Hero Awards at Gunstock.

Gifford thanked their Presenting Sponsor Citizens Bank, represented by Bob Fischer, Vice President regional manager, for their community commitment.

"We're excited to be a part of this," said Fischer. "We believe it is important to recognize individuals who dedicate their time and service to the communities in which they live and work. I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the award nominees."

According to Gifford, registration for the award night is $35 per person, and registration forms are available online at www.lakesregionchamber.org or by calling 524-5531.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
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