Elias A. Joseph is remembered by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce as honorable, giving, committed and noble.
So when Waterville Realtor and longtime chamber volunteer Bart Stevens was told he had won the chamber’s Elias A. Joseph Award, he felt honored and a little embarrassed.
The Elias A. Joseph Award was created to honor Joseph for his dedication of more than 28 years of volunteering, which included more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service. The award is given to those who most displayed similar service to the chamber.
“Nobody has lived up to that award,” Stevens said. “I’m certainly honored. Elias had done so much for the chamber — really my amount of time is minor in comparison.”
Even so, Stevens was a no-brainer for the honor, according to chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Kim Lindlof. Stevens will be recognized at the awards dinner, scheduled for Tuesday at the Elks banquet hall in Waterville.
“We’re very discriminating when it comes to this award and we don’t give it out just because,” Lindlof said. “Bart is one of those rare volunteers that commits to what he’s capable of doing and follows through with it. You can count on Bart.”
Stevens, 56, a Realtor in Waterville who lives in Oakland, has run the gamut of positions with the chamber and many other organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Maine Children’s Home, United Way of Mid-Maine and the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. Since 2001, Stevens has served as the chamber ambassador and was the chairman of the board of directors in 2011. In 2005, Stevens won the Distinguished Community Service Award from the chamber.
“I won’t join an organization if I don’t believe I can make some type of difference,” Stevens said. “I feel giving up time is more important than money.”
A graduate of the University of Maine, Stevens moved to the area to work for Central Maine Power. In the mid 1990s, Stevens said it was time for a change and got into the real estate business. In 2013, Stevens served as President of the Maine Association of Realtors, a 4,000-member real estate group that oversees 16 regional Boards of Realtors.
Stevens and his wife, Patricia, live in Oakland with their two sons, Nicholas and Justin. He said his work in the community mirrors that of his profession in real estate.
“I volunteer for the same reason that I work in realty and that’s to promote and encourage what we have here,” Stevens said.
Lindlof said Stevens commitment to community events is almost unparalleled, as he and his wife usually enjoy their anniversary at the Taste of Greater Waterville.
“Bart is very giving and never frazzled,” Lindlof said. “You’d think with all the things on his plate he’d be a bit hurried, but he’s very calm and thoughtful with his reactions.”