SKOWHEGAN — Ever since Amy and Gene Rouse moved in the early 1990s to Skowhegan from Southern California, seeking quality education for their two children, they have been active in the community as volunteers.

That includes everything from Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, public access television and adult education to the local school board and the United Methodist church.

In the Skowhegan community, Amy Rouse, 69, and Gene Rouse, 73, are people the town can be thankful for this holiday season, Town Manager Christine Almand said.

“You have some folks in the community that do great things for the community each and every day,” Almand said. “It’s a lifestyle for them. They choose to get involved in their community to help out to make sure the quality of life in their community is better.”

The Rouses were honored for their volunteerism by the Spirit of American Foundation for 2016 and recognized in a resolve by the Skowhegan Board of Selectmen.

The list of places where the couple volunteer fills nearly two pages on the selectmen’s proclamation, including a camp at Lake George Regional Park, Santa’s Village, concerts in the park and the town’s Budget and Finance Committee. Amy Rouse is a Project Wild Trainer, as a woman committed to educating others about wildlife and wildlife-related issues. Gene is an Outdoor Skills Trainer.

“I grew up in a home where volunteering was part of our life,” Amy Rouse said. “We taught our children that we were very fortunate to have a place to live and food to eat and that there were people who were less fortunate than us.”

She said there are little things that one can do for someone else, such as giving a ride to someone who doesn’t have a car, money for gasoline so the person can drive to the store, a clean bed to sleep in or a warm coat.

Gene said over the years they have taken in high school students to live with them — three boys and two girls at different times.

“It was really nice. I don’t know that we felt like it was deserved,” Gene Rouse said of their receiving the Spirit of American Award. “It’s never done for the recognition.”

Mainers to be thankful for

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