Gary A. LaGrange Community Impact Award
United Way of the Tri-Valley Area annually seeks nominations for the Gary A. LaGrange Community Impact Award. This award recognizes a business, individual, couple, or organization that goes above and beyond to significantly impact Greater Franklin County through their volunteer efforts. This year’s recipient of the award is Jodie Gunther.
Carroll’s commitment and passion for the community are evident in his day-to-fay actions. He keeps a list of veterans in Chesterville and makes sure they are recognized when they move to town as well as local events honoring veterans every year. He also helps execute the Wreaths Across America ceremony at his local cemetery. Carroll has a history of driving community members to appointments, picking up things that require a truck or a trailer, or hauling things like campers and horse trailers. He provided a new 3-wheeled bike to a local resident who collects cans and bottles, after the man was hit by a car. They then worked out a way that the man could pick up trash and Carroll paid him per bag, and picked up larger items and took it all to the transfer station every week. One of his many new friends got help from Carroll to relocate his beehives onto Carroll’s property and he leaves his back field to grow now so a local farmer can have extra hay to get through the year. Recently he borrowed equipment to help a single mother tear down, burn and prepare her land for a mobile home, after an uninsured house fire. He takes in local stray cats and donates to the animal shelter if an animal is taken there from Chesterville. Lastly, he frequently comes out of retirement to help the town or a friend by operating equipment, driving a dump truck, or plowing the roads when there is no one available to do it. Carroll loving calls Chesterville “The Best Little Town in America” and many community members believe it is partly because of him.
Carroll was selected from a field of excellent candidates. United Way honors the following who were also nominated:
- Johnny Wakefield of Rangeley
- Mike Pond, Heavens Cupboard Food Ministry, Farmington
- Kevin Frost, Shining Star, Farmington
- Linda Myhaver of Farmington
The United Way of the Tri-Valley Area strives to unite people and resources to improve lives and build a strong and healthy community. Through direct funding and volunteer engagement, the United Way makes a difference every day. It is important for us to recognize those who have gone above and beyond to impact our community. This award is presented to an individual who best exhibits commitment, enthusiasm, caring and support in the following areas:
➔ Improving Health and Wellness (i.e., reduce food insecurity, access to medical care, etc.)
➔ Empowering our community to become more Mobile (i.e., ride share programs, homebound delivery services, etc.)
➔ Helping Children and Families with Housing Insecurity (i.e., house weatherization, housing updates, etc.)
➔ Increasing Self-Sufficiency and Independence through Financial Security (i.e., promote literacy, financial literacy, etc.)
Application deadline is February 10th, 2023. Requirements:
Nominees strive to improve the lives of Greater Franklin County residents through their volunteer efforts. This award is open to individuals that serve or reside in Franklin County, Livermore, or Livermore Falls. The volunteer efforts must be outside of the individuals work environment. They consistently go above and beyond to make a difference in our community, and through their signature efforts they stand out. It is on the shoulders of these giants of community service that we stand to reach our goals.
About Gary A. LaGrange:
Some people show their special spark even when they’re trying not to…to seek joy in what you give, not what you get … this was Gary LaGrange. Gary’s commitment to serving others was lifelong. His passion for helping people with energy conservation fueled his career with Maine Community Action agencies, including building and repairing homes, facilitating fuel assistance programs, conducting energy audits and teaching home buyer education. He was often asked to go the extra step to help a homeowner, and this he willingly did, often on his own time.
Volunteerism had a constant presence in Gary’s life … playing Santa for Headstart classrooms each holiday, directing hundreds of Christmas packages to happy children through Operation Santa Claus and fueling his love for the arts by spending many hours bringing sets to life with the Sandy River Players. Upon retirement, Gary devoted himself to volunteering full time as a lead volunteer with the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area program called the Community Energy Challenge: building interior storm panels to save homeowners’ energy and providing energy education help to control their fuel costs – a simple idea with powerful and cost-saving results. He was also a 5th Degree member and served on the Executive Committee of the Wilson Grange, as well as a site manager for East Parish Housing Ministry, helping rehab homes with visiting mission groups.
Gary took immense pride in acting without expectation and encouraging others to do the same. He walked beside us all towards a better community and that is truly impactful. Gary left a loving family and community behind passing away, December 15, 2013. The United Way is honored to continue his legacy of caring with this award.
Crystal Cook, United Methodist Economic Ministry
Rev. Susan Crane, Ecumenical Heating Fund
Trish and Gordie Flint
Tri-County Mental Health Services
Peter Judkins, Franklin Savings Bank
Flo and John Caldwell, Stratton/Eustis Food Pantry
Verso Androscoggin Mill employees
Brent and Bertha Smith
The Board of Western Maine Homeless Outreach
Judy Frost, Western Maine Community Action
Shannon Smith, Wilton Blueberry Festival
Katie Hallman, RSU 9
Erica Emery, Rustic Roots Farm