Spirit of America 2016
On October 18, members of the Wright Landing Committee and the Horticulture Committee were honored as the 2016 Westport Island Spirit of America recipients. Spirit of America awards are given to individuals or groups which exemplify service to community.
The Wright Landing Committee and the Horticulture Committee, which was created to beautify the landing, have worked together to develop and manage the Wright Landing property as a public boat landing and park. Members devote many volunteer hours throughout the year in various ways to make our public landing accessible and welcoming to residents, fishermen, boaters and visitors. Their efforts have included:
- Applying for grants and managing funded improvements that added a walkway and jetty to improve the landing’s facilities as a boat ramp for residents, fishermen and visitors;
- Managing the overall improvement, development and landscaping of the public landing and park;
- Overseeing the annual installation and removal of the ramps and floats;
- Maintaining and advocating for the Wright Landing house and property;
- Creating and maintaining a landscaping design and perennial garden that has beautified the landing and provided a changing display of blooms and color from Spring into Fall; and
- Transforming the Wright property into a proud community landmark where town office staff routinely send new residents or prospective property purchasers – to see both its scenic beauty and its facilities for providing public access to the water.
The Wright Landing Committee and the Horticulture Committee have created a community asset which has garnered praise from residents, fishermen and visitors as well as representatives from area town conservation committees.
Not all members could be present at the Lincoln County awards ceremony, but all are recognized by the town in its award of appreciation — Wright Landing Committee: Richard DeVries, Chair; Al Andrews; Robert Morris; Ken Parsons; and Bruce Whittemore as well as past chair, Art Ballard, and John Nelson, in memoriam; and Horticulture Committee: Donna Curry, Chair; Emily Adler; Brad Adler; Elizabeth Lee; Gretchen McNamara and Debbie Williams.
The Town says “Thank You”
Westport Island Treasurer, Susan Partelow, had a rare speechless moment following the 1st Selectman’s award presentation at today’s 5th Annual Lincoln County Spirit of America awards ceremony. Susan was recognized for 12 years of service to Westport Island as Tax Collector, Treasurer and its first Administrative Assistant providing management support to the Town’s Selectmen. In her tenure, she has also given significant personal time as a volunteer on the Human Resources Committee, the Community Association, the Budget Committee and the ad hoc Historical and Records Vault Committee
When called upon to speak, Susan could only say, “Thank you. I love Westport Island.”
In her tenure as Treasurer and Tax Collector, Susan has overseen the conversion of the Island’s finances to a computerized system that encompasses all Town operations — improving the efficiency and uniformity of the Town’s revenue collections and expenditures. With the expertise and professionalism she brought to the job, Susan has done much to improve Westport’s overall financial operations.
The Spirit of America Foundation Tribute is presented in the name of Maine municipalities to local individuals, organizations and projects for commendable community service. This year, in addition to recognizing Westport’s nominee, Susan Partelow, the Spirit of America Foundation recognized Westport Island with the Gold award for its volunteer contributions to the operations of Lincoln County. The Town has participated in the Spirit of America awards for four of its five years in Lincoln County — recognizing volunteerism as a critical component of local government. 1st Selectman George Richardson has served eight years on the Lincoln County Budget Advisory Committee and is a liaison to Lincoln County Regional Planning (LCRP), 2nd Selectman Jerry Bodmer serves as liaison to the Register of Deeds, and 3rd Selectman Ross Norton serves as an alternate to LCRP on behalf of the Island.
On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Westport Island’s Ruth Nelson was honored at the Lincoln County Spirit of America awards ceremony in Wiscasset. The Spirit of America awards pay tribute to individuals and organizations for outstanding volunteer contributions to their communities.
County Administrator John O’Connell presided over the awards ceremony before an audience of almost 50 award recipients, supporters, and camera snipers. State Sen. Chris Johnson was also on hand to present proclamations on behalf of the 125th Maine Legislature to echo its support for the efforts of volunteers in bettering Maine communities.
Westport depends on many volunteers to keep the engines of our community running. Ruth Nelson is one who stands out. As Chair of the Planning Board, she has led an effort to update town ordinances; she has written and secured grants to improve the Ferry Landing; she is Treasurer of the Community Association; and she is a member of the History Committee where her passion for antiques and her writing and editing skills have made her an important resource.
Ruth was uncomfortable with being singled out. However, she glowed when accepting the award from First Selectman George Richardson. She told the audience, “I’m doing what I love. I don’t want to sit around in a rocking chair and look at the water.” (Good deal.)
Westport Island has participated in the Spirit of America awards since 2010. The Board of Selectmen solicits nominations and picks the tribute recipients. Past recipients have been the Westport Volunteer Fire Department (2010) and the Westport Island Human Resources Committee (2011). Here’s a look at this year’s ceremony…