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Wentzell named Mexico's Citizen of the Year
Mexico Fire Chief Gary Wentzell (right) was presented a plaque from Richie Philbrick, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, after being named the town's Citizen of the Year last Thursday at the annual Night of Appreciation. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
From top left, Gary Coffin is presented the Volunteer of the Year Award from Byron Ouellette; John Madigan presents Jim Theriault with the Fulltime Employee of the Year Award; Janna Schuster receives a 25-Year Service Award from John Madigan; John Madigan presents the Town Manager Award to Cheryl Gallant; a Special Award and Legislative Sentiment to Ernie Robichaud from Rep. Sheryl Briggs (see video on Rumford Falls Times' Facebook page); and John Madigan presented Wayne Sevigny with the Part Time Employee of the Year Award. (Times photos by Bruce Farrin)
MEXICO -- Fire Chief Gary Wentzell was named Citizen of the Year during the annual Night of Appreciation last Thursday.
Richie Philbrick, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, before presenting the plaque to Wentzell, told the 200 people attending that
Wentzell deserved the honor for building one of the best fire departments in the region while saving the town thousands of dollars.
"He even went on ebay to purchase something for less."
Philbrick said that in addition, Wentzell has spent countless hours between working on the snowmobile trails or working on the groomer for the Mexico Trailblazers Snowmobile Club.
After being presented the award, the appreciative Wentzell, who fought getting choked up at one point, noted, "This is very unexpected. I'm proud of our department and proud of what we've accomplished."
He noted the valley would be a whole lot better if everyone put their energy into improving their community instead of bickering.
The town has honored a citizen of the year every year since the town began the annual event back in 1996.
Named Volunteer of the year was Gary Coffin. Selectman Byron Ouellette, the presenter, said Coffin drives a number of people to their appointments as well as volunteers at the Rumford Information Center.
The Fulltime Employee of the Year is Police Chief Jim Theriault, who is retiring. Rep. Sheryl Briggs also presented a Legislative Sentiment to Theriault, who served in law enforcement for 42 years.
The Part Time Employee of the Year is Recreation Director Wayne Sevigny, honored for his efforts in building up recreation for the area.
Town Manager John Madigan presented the Town Manager's Award to Cheryl Gallant for all her volunteer efforts, including her work in beautifying the Memorial Greens.
A Special Award was presented to Ernie Robichaud, as well as a Legislative Sentiment from Briggs for dedicating a lifetime of work to help the town (see video on Rumford Falls Times' Facebook page). Robichaud is a former selectmen and member of the Water District, and a current member of the Planning Board.
Years of Service Awards were presented to Executive Secretary Sheryl Briggs (10 years), Custodian Ray Vaillancourt (15 years), and Bookkeeper Janna Schuster (25 years).
Theriault and interim Police Chief Roy Hodsdon announced that they were starting a new tradition of present new officers with their badge before family and friends. First with that honor was Rob Drouin, who began with the Explorers back in 2006, and recently named as a fulltime officer.
It was announced that Mexico's Boston Post Cane recipient Earl Murray will be observing his 100th birthday on Dec. 4.
Madigan thanked the volunteers for the nice job of placing the yellow ribbons on the Memorial Greens, one for each of the 29 people currently active in the military.
He recognized Mr. and Mrs. Darrold and Berl Comstock on celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary. They were married on Oct. 9, 1949.
At the start of the event, Wayne McPherson (known as the Grill Doctor) served a barbeque dinner, with coffee and tea donated and prepared by Calvin Lyons.
Organizers moved the event along to ensure that people could get home in time to watch their beloved Red Sox defeat the Tigers in a pivotal game five of the championship series.