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Scholarship started in memory of Joe Volkernick Sr.
MEXICO -- It was a somber gathering last week as board members of the local public access channel met for the first time since the passing of longtime member Joseph Volkernick Sr.
Volkernick, 80, who died on Nov. 8, was often the face behind the camera for WVAC TV 7 that recorded events for the River Valley for more than two decades.
The prime reason for this meeting was to discuss how to honor Volkernick. Following a moment of silence, it did not take long before there was unanimous support among the seven directors attending that they wanted to start a scholarship in his name.
WVAC Manager Pam Bevins, Norine Clarke, Matt Kaubris and Len Greaney led the discussion, noting that the criteria for the scholarship will be discussed at a later time, but it should involve someone who, like Volkernick, is involved in volunteering and community service.
Even before getting this scholaship underway, more than $100 has been collected by the access station in Volkernick's memory, including donations from a pair of bowling teams at Oxford Lanes, where he was a longtime bowler.
Kaubris said they should start small with a scholarship, but should have one for 2013, including student(s) from Mountain Valley and Dirigo high school, as well as Region 9.
They also discussed fundraising ideas, which will be needed to keep this as a perpetual scholarship. Thoughts included golf and bowling tournaments.
Beyond the scholarship, however, was the thought that the access channel has lost a considerable contributor and volunteers are needed more than ever. Volkernick covered events like RAAPA, Veterans Day (no one was present to tape this), the Lithuanian Picnic, etc.
To donate to this scholarship or to volunteer, contact the station at WVACtv7@gmail.com.
Volkernick was also vice president of the board. In the interim, the board elected Greaney as president, with Steve Dyment as vice president.
Well into the meeting, the group then recalled memories they had about Volkernick with WVAC.
Greaney said Volkernick was so pleased with all the people he met, including at the skiing nationals at Black Mountain with the crew of ESPN as well as Bill Green.
Clarke and Bevins noted that Volkernick would often edit out negative comments made about the area and recalled one time when he cleaned his lens while taping and talking about how he had to edit out this act.
"A lot of people have wonderful keepsakes because of what he taped," noted Kaubris.
At Thursday's board meeting, Rumford Selectman Jolene Lovejoy noted that Volkernick made "great strides in improving your life through local access."
She reminded the public that "this quiet man behind the stage" taped various community functions at his own expense and time.
Lovejoy was the voice of River Valley Connection, a collection of more than 30 shows created over local access "to let people know what was going on in your town."
Lovejoy did the interviews at various locations and Volkernick did the taping. She added that the work for Volkernick did not end with the taping because he would then go back to the access channel studio to edit the work.
"He is going to be really missed," she noted.
Selectmen chose Volkernick as the town's Citizen of the Year in 2006.
The WVAC board will meet again in December to further discuss the scholarship.