Diplomatic representatives from Quebec Province, Canada and France, along with many Franco-American Mainers, gathered at the State House Wednesday for the 16th Annual Franco-American Day.
Among those inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame was Jean-Paul Fortin of Augusta, who was born in 1935 in Quebec Province and immigrated to Maine in 1959. He worked as painting contractor and took night-school English classes before becoming an American citizen in 1966.
He joined Le Club Calumet in 1973 and starting in 1992 worked his way through the ranks and served as president in 1996. After retiring in 1997, Fortin and brother-in-law Henry Roy did several renovation projects at the Augusta Catholic churches and parochial schools.
Events throughout the day included a presentation of colors, and music by French Canadian and Franco-American groups. Rachel Boucher Ellis of Augusta sang the national anthems of the U.S., Canada and France in the House and Senate chambers.
Others honored Wednesday were Joel and Therese Dionne of Aroostook County, Juliana L’Heureux of Sagadahoc County, Lionel “Nel” Meservier of Androscoggin County, Andre Pied of Somerset County, Muriel Poulin of York County and former Rep. Paulette Beaudoin, D-Biddeford, who was awarded posthumously.