Portland, ME – Nearly 200 attendees gathered to mark Catholic Charities Maine’s 50th Anniversary on Wednesday night and to honor the outstanding individuals, businesses, faith-based and community organizations that have worked to build a better, stronger community at the Agency’s inaugural RICHES Awards Dinner.
“While we are proud to be celebrating 50 years of service in Maine,” we feel honored to be able to share this occasion with community partners who share our passion for empowering and strengthening individuals and families of all faiths here in Maine,” notes Stephen Letourneau, CEO.
The RICHES Awards are named for Catholic Charities core values of Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Hospitality, Excellence and Stewardship. Six awards were presented including a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Agency’s founding CEO, Neil Michaud in recognition of his inspiration and dedication in the creation of Catholic Charities Maine fifty years ago.
In the Nonprofit Partner Award category Northern Maine Community College was recognized for its 20 years of support providing students to haul thousands of loads of lumber, wafer board and pallets of clothing that keep Catholic Charities’ Threads of Hope Thrift Stores thriving and the Agency’s Recycling Center bustling in Aroostook County thus positively impacting the effort to feed the hungry in northern Maine and beyond.
The Volunteer Partner Award was presented to Larry Lachance of Auburn. An Advisory Committee member of the SEARCH program which Seeks Elderly Alone to Renew Courage and Hope since 1985 and a senior companion volunteer for 38 years, it is estimated that dollar value of Larry’s volunteer effort over the years is more than $75,000!
St. Michael’s Parish in Augusta was recognized with the Faith-based Partner Award for its ongoing contributions to Catholic Charities programs like SEARCH, Threads of Hope Thrift Stores and Refugee & Immigration Services as well as community ministries, including the Angel Food Suppers that feed the homeless and an art program for youth in area shelters.
The Inspiration Award was presented to Nancy Pierce of Cumberland Foreside, in recognition of her hard work and dedication in enhancing a resource to those in need in the community via the Good as New Thrift Store. Aroostook County residents are now treated to a lovely place to shop that offers items at a great value; a purpose to volunteers and staff; and to donors a “green” way to pay it forward by recycling their gently used goods. And most importantly, Pierce’s commitment to the store has increased its revenues tremendously thus enabling St. Michaels’ Parish, which operates the store, to provide assistance to even more individuals and families in crisis.
The Healthcare Partner Award was presented to HealthInfoNet an independent, non-profit organization that manages Maine’s statewide health information exchange. HealthInfoNet is a secure computer system for doctors, hospitals and behavioral health care providers like Catholic Charities to share important health information and improve patient care by linking medical information from separate sites to create a single electronic patient record that can be accessed by authorized providers. As one of a handful of states meeting the “value-added” standard set by the Federal government, HealthInfoNet is truly a leader in its field, merging complex medical histories and treatment plans with state of the art technology to ultimately provide a safer and enhanced patient experience.
Hosted by Catholic Charities CEO Stephen Letourneau and the Most Reverend Robert P. Deeley, Bishop of Portland the evening also featured Sr. Donna Markham, OP, PhD President of CCUSA, as the keynote speaker. Sr. Donna noted the collective call of the 165 Catholic Charities nation-wide in “resolving to build bridges of hope, mercy and justice toward the creation of a culture of communal care responsive to the cries of those who are poor.” “I am honored to be here tonight to celebrate 50 years of working toward this vision being realized here in Maine,” Markham added.
Since 1966 Catholic Charities Maine has been focusing some of Maine’s most complex issues — mental health, substance abuse, quality care for children and seniors, food insecurity and helping refugees rebuild their lives. While inspired by scripture and the Church’s social teaching, the state-wide social service Agency serves individuals and families regardless of faith and helped to empower and strengthen more than 55,000 people in Maine last year alone through its 20+ programs and services. For more information, visit www.ccmaine.org
Pictured L to R: Stephen Letourneau, Catholic Charities Maine CEO; Fr. Frank Morin, St. Michael’s Parish; Larry Lachance; Bishop Robert P. Deeley; Neil Michaud; Timothy Crowley, President of Northern Maine Community College; Nancy Pierce; Gemma Cannon, HealthInfoNet; Sr. Donna Markham, President of CCUSA and David Madore, Catholic Charities Maine Board Chair
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