WATERVILLE — Officials at Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce tried for years to recognize Shawn Michaud for his many hours of volunteer service.
As a working board member for the chamber, however, Michaud, who is sales supervisor at Valley Distributors of Oakland, said awards would have to wait.
That changed recently when the chamber named Michaud the recipient of the 2012 Elias A. Joseph Award for volunteerism.
“We’ve been trying to give Shawn this award for years,” said Christian Savage, the chamber’s program assistant. “He wouldn’t accept it.”
Michaud, 39, said when he finished his term as chairman of the chamber’s board of directors last year, he would consider the offer.
“I was still serving on the board, and at the time I just didn’t feel a board member should accept an award,” he said. “I’m not a big awards guy. I’m not involved in this so that someone can give me an award.”
Michaud said it is an honor to receive the award, but no one individual accomplishes anything alone.
“It’s a group effort,” he said, “everybody working together.”
The award is named for Elias A. Joseph, who in 28 years dedicated more than 10,000 hours in volunteer service to the chamber and “for professional achievement and unselfish devotion to his community,” said Chamber President and CEO Kimberly Lindlof.
The award recipient is a person who, in the eyes of chamber officials, has shown similar service to the group, she said.
“Shawn has put in countless hours for the chamber,” Lindlof said. “He served as chair of the board for two years. He served as chair of the Membership Committee for many, many years. This is the first year’s he is off the board.”
Lindlof said under Michaud’s leadership, attendance at the Chamber’s Business After Hours program has increased, now drawing “a couple hundred people” for the sessions. Michaud also has worked to expand the Chamber’s Advantage Discount Card program, used by about 90 businesses, and helped launch the Business to Business Showcase seven years ago.
“He’s grown the chamber gift certificate program,” Lindlof said. “Since it started, we’ve sold over $650,000 worth of chamber gift certificates, which keeps the money here in the local economy.”
Brad Fisher, current chamber board chairman, said Michaud is most deserving of the award for volunteerism.
“He is very dedicated, genuine. He’s a real person,” Fisher said. “He’s a hard worker; there’s no question about that.”
Michaud lives in Winslow with his wife, Darlene; and three daughters, ages 12, 17 and 19.
Valley Distributors, owned by Mike and Buck Runser, is the regional distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, as well as products such as 7UP and other non-alcoholic beverages.
Michaud has served on chamber committees for about 17 years, he said. He previously was manager of Strike 10 Bowling Center on West River Road in Waterville. He remains a member of three committees.
“I was able to do a lot of it because of the support of Valley Distributors and the people that I work with,” he said. “A lot of it comes during the work day, so it interrupts what I do during the day; and a lot of it happens at nighttime, so the family has to understand some of the things we have to do — my work family and my personal family.”
The Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce serves about 600 businesses in 17 communities.
Michaud will be presented the award April 11 at the 50th annual chamber awards dinner, at the Waterville Elks Banquet & Conference Center in Waterville.
Doug Harlow — 612-2367