The three nominees for the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Community Service Award come from different backgrounds and have had different careers.

One of the elements they have in common is their service to the community.

Nominees are active in improving the Kennebec Valley, and they have been recognized by their peers for their integrity and performance with a history of community service, according to the chamber.

One of the nominees has been an Augusta councilor and was a chief social worker at VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus. Another was the president of Le Club Calumet and started a pétanque club in the capital city. A third is a strength and fitness facility that strives to empower members of the community to become the best versions of themselves.

This year’s winner will be announced at the Kenney Awards ceremony, beginning at 5 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Augusta Civic Center.

CECIL MUNSON

After retiring from his job at Togus, Munson said he didn’t know what to do. He toiled with several small projects until he was urged by many to run for a seat on the Augusta City Council. While on the council for nine years, Munson said, he saw a lot of deprivation in the community and a lot of things he considered problematic.

“I try to give back to the community as much as I get from it,” Munson said. “We’ve got a long way to go, though.”

Munson said he became aware of and sensitive to the struggles of people less fortunate while serving in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps. He has been involved with the Heating Challenge and the Augusta Warming Center and is a trustee of the Greater Augusta Utility District and Lithgow Public Library. He is also on the board of the Healthy Communities of the Capital Area group.

He said being nominated for a Kenney Award is a nice recognition by the business community of the work he’s done to help the less fortunate, but he said it’s not about him.

“This is about the community development programs and people doing the most they can do to help,” Munson said. “I’ve had a lot of help along the way, and for me, it’s always been about serving the community, not serving myself.”

Munson gave credit to his late wife, Shelley, for giving him the support that allowed him to become a leader in the community. He said he’s patient and a good listener, which has helped him learn from others and keep an open mind.

RAY FECTEAU

People don’t know pétanque in Maine or in America, Fecteau said, but they will soon. The game, which is similar to bocce, is played at Mill Park with a group he started with just his wife. Now they have more than 120 players, and their club continues to grow.

The low-impact game is played in Augusta by people ages 14 to 89, and there are friendly, leisurely games, as well as competitive games between world-class players. It’s all part of Fecteau’s work to continue bringing the community together in unique ways.

“I was a barber here for more than 40 years, and I’ve done service work for a lot of different organizations,” he said.

Fecteau moved to central Maine when he was 14 months old and has been a well-recognized member of the community for several decades. He was named Ambassador of Goodwill by three governors, was honored by Le Club Calumet as its La Medaille d’Honneur recipient and was inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame of Maine.

“I don’t like to toot my own horn about that stuff, but if someone asks, I’ll tell them.”

He said he’ll continue working in the community and promoting pétanque. He said the people of central Maine are what makes his community service special.

“I guess I’m doing something for the community, but I’m just having fun doing what I do,” he said.

GEVOLUTION FITNESS

Gina LoMonaco said community is the heart and soul of the gymnasium she owns with her husband, Rick Mancir. Within the walls of the facility on Edison Drive in Augusta, the pair created a space that cultivates and empowers its team members to work hard and keep a positive attitude to become the best they can be.

Each month, the group participates in some community service project, whether that is helping at the Augusta Warming Center or with the Family Violence Project. Having opened in a small storefront on Water Street with just nine members, the group now occupies a large warehouse-type space on Edison Drive with more than 150 team members.

“We go beyond the walls and take the opportunity to take all the people here, which itself is a community, and contribute in a meaningful way,” LoMonaco said.

LoMonaco grew up in a large Italian family on Long Island. She said all she knew was to be kind and generous to others, and she said it wasn’t always about giving money. Usually it was bringing people into their home and sharing life stories and experiences.

She said it’s nice to be noticed by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce and businesses throughout the region, but recognition is not what she, her husband and the GEvolution family is about.

“Recognition is wonderful and nice, but we would be doing this whether we were recognized or not,” LoMonaco said. “It’s who we are.”

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

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Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ