Husband and wife real estate duo Don and Irene Plourde are humble about the work they’ve done to give back to the Waterville area in the nearly 30 years since they started Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate.

They are so humble that when asked how it felt to receive this year’s Distinguished Community Service award from the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, they both gave the same answer.

“Our first reaction was ‘Oh my goodness, there must be somebody else that is more deserving than us,'” Don Plourde said.

“I know there are a lot of other people who were probably more deserving, but we’re very honored,” his wife said in a separate interview.

But with a volunteering and community service rap sheet that includes involvement in countless area community boards and clubs, as well as donating thousands of dollars annually to local charities, Christian Savage, of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce said the couple was an obvious pick for the award.

“They’ve been an integral part of the community since the ’80s,” Savage said. “In all their success, they’ve really dedicated a lot of their free time to the community.”

Don Plourde, a Winslow native, and Irene Plourde, a Waterville native, opened their real estate agency in 1989 with just two agents. In the last 27 years, that number has grown to 22 agents. The Plourdes, married since 1981, attribute their success to simply being a really good team.

“A lot of people think it’s hard for a husband and wife to work together every day, but we’ve been doing it for well over 25 years and it works very well,” Don Plourde said. “We end up being a really good team.”

The successful teamwork on the business side of their life was bound to transfer over to the philanthropic side, as both Don and Irene Plourde were raised to give back, Don said, adding that they instilled that same value in their two daughters.

As a member and one-time president of the Waterville Rotary Club, Don Plourde has been involved in a slew of the club’s charitable functions, including its annual Radio Auction. While Irene Plourde is not a club member, Don Plourde says his wife is always eager to help however she can with the events. He affectionately called doing these Rotary Club events together “date night.”

“She’s always right there with me,” Don Plourde said.

Their teamwork is not lost on those who encounter them, as Kim Lindlof, president and chief executive officer of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, said.

“Irene and Don have supported so many causes, not only with their financial assistance but with their time and expertise. They truly complement each other as a couple, and so many of us have benefited from that throughout mid-Maine,” she said.

Don Plourde also has served on the board of Kennebec Savings Bank, the Maine Real Estate Commission, the Waterville Development Corp., the Maine State Housing board, the Inland Hospital board of trustees, the Winslow Capital Planning Committee and the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Board, where he served as chairman in 1998. He received the Elias A. Joseph Award for chamber volunteerism in 2001.

Irene Plourde said that while their children were growing up, she always made an effort to be involved in school functions. When their daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Irene Plourde established an area support group for people with diabetes.

The Plourdes’ personal mission of community service also spills into their real estate agency, where Don Plourde said they stress the importance of giving back.

With several of their agents being involved in Habitat for Humanity, the Plourdes make an effort to provide food for the volunteers working on the projects in which their agents are involved. Additionally, every year they donate over $1,000 to area food pantries around the holidays, and the agents volunteer to deliver the checks to the pantries.

At the agency, named Maine’s top Coldwell Banker-affiliated office in 2014, the Plourdes have implemented a policy in which a portion of the proceeds from each property they sell is donated to local charity.

In a display of community spirit outside the bounds of a defined organization or club, Irene Plourde has established a tradition of inviting neighborhood children to their home around the holidays to bake cookies. Her husband said that when she realized a lot of families don’t make a big deal of baking around the holidays — a tradition his wife loves — she began inviting the neighborhood families in their Winslow community to join her.

When the couple moved two years ago to Sidney, the tradition ceased temporarily. But last year, Irene Plourde invited the folks from their Winslow community to come re-establish the tradition at their new home. About 43 people turned up at their home for the festivities.

“The community has done a lot for us. The community has supported us tremendously,” Irene Plourde said. “It’s our ways of giving back.”

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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