WATERVILLE — A local business was recognized out of 24 contestants as the best large business of the year at the Maine Family Business Awards.

Woodlands Senior Living — which has locations in Brewer, Cape Elizabeth, Farmington, Hallowell, Lewiston, Rockland and Waterville — was named the Renys Large Business of the Year, the category for companies with more than 25 employees and that demonstrate excellence in all facets of business, including family involvement, succession planning, communication, the value of being family owned and community service.

Woodlands Senior Living founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Lon Walters, along with his son Matthew Walters, chief operating officer and co-owner, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

In a news release, Matthew Walters, who was in Cape Elizabeth on Friday, recognized the staff, saying it takes a special person to do the work being done at Woodlands.

“Our organization could never have grown and achieved this level of success without a tremendous group of dedicated and caring individuals. This award is a result of their commitment to our organization and to the residents we serve,” he said.

Woodlands Senior Living employs more than 325 people statewide and has more than 500 residents. First opened in 1980 as a 39-resident boarding home in Hallowell, the fourth-generation organization has 12 assisted-living and specialized dementia facilities in seven communities. The organization provides dementia units, assisted living and independent apartments.

Farmington is the latest branch of Woodlands to open. Last September, the 20,000-square-foot assisted-care facility opened to become the 12th branch of the company.

“My parents started this organization almost 40 years ago,” Walters said, “and we have been devoted ever since to being the preferred partner when it comes to caring for Maine seniors. Recognition like this is very humbling. We are honored.”

The Maine Family Business Awards are an annual event presented by the Institute for Family-Owned Business. The other companies recognized for other awards during the event included DM&J Waste of Winterport; Howe & Howe Technologies of Waterboro; Washburn & Doughty Associates Inc. of East Boothbay; Blueberry Fields Bed & Breakfast in Washington; Rinck Advertising of Lewiston; and Hardypond Construction of Portland.

There were 186 nominations for the seven awards during the 19th annual ceremony.

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