The Old Hallowell Day Committee has announced that Anthony Romano has been selected to receive the Barry S. Timson Community Service Award for 2018.
This award has been established to celebrate and memorialize the late Mayor Barry Timson’s contributions to the city of Hallowell, to make his commitment a model for others, to recognize the efforts and achievements of young adults in our community, and to encourage the spirit of volunteerism, civic commitment and leadership.
Romano, who lives in Hallowell with his parents Jeff Romano and Maria Fuentes, will enter his senior year at Hall-Dale High School this fall. He has managed to find ways to make a difference in his school and community while keeping up with classwork and an intensive array of cross country, basketball and track team practices, events and activities.

Romano is Vice President of the National Honor Society at Hall-Dale. As former Treasurer and current Vice President of the Hall-Dale Key Club, he has participated in initiatives such as the annual Polar Plunge to raise funds for Camp CaPella (offering year-round recreational and educational opportunities for Maine children and adults with disabilities) and Camp Sunshine (supporting families affected by life-threatening childhood illness). He has also volunteered at the community supper and auction held at Hall-Dale in support of Welcoming New Mainers this past spring, and when his sports schedule has allowed, has volunteered on Old Hallowell Day for the Hearts for Ezra Foundation’s popular ‘Kids in Motion’ event.

Anthony Romano is also an avid hiker just like his dad, Jeff, who has been hiking for more than four decades and has written three guidebooks. Anthony and Jeff Romano have been climbing mountains throughout Maine and beyond for years now, as often as their schedules allow. To date, says his proud mom, Anthony has climbed 62 of the 4,000-foot summits in New England with his dad, leaving only five to go.

“The climb and the community service I’m most proud of,” Anthony says, “was when I hiked the Long Trail in Vermont with my dad a couple of years ago. I set it up as a GoFundMe fundraiser to support Hearts for Ezra.” The latter is a nonprofit foundation established by Hallowell residents Emily and Ethan Bessey, to promote awareness and find a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The Besseys themselves only learned of this little-known debilitating genetic disease when their son was merely four months old, and suffered unspeakable loss when SMA claimed little Ezra’s life four months later.

At the age of 15, Anthony Romano set his sights on supporting Hearts for Ezra by attempting to raise $10 for each mile of the 271.3 mile Long Trail, which follows the Green Mountains, stretching from Quebec to the Massachusetts border. Known as the “Footpath in the Wilderness,” it showcases the natural beauty of the landscape and its wildlife as hikers traverse Vermont’s highest peaks and deepest valleys.

The Romanos also navigated physical and emotional highs and lows during their month-long Hike for a Cure. Their exhilaration was tempered by sobering moments of realization that not everyone is blessed with strong healthy muscles for hiking or anything else. In the end, the outstanding effort raised public awareness and over $5,000 for Hearts for Ezra, from more than 90 donors.

Says Emily Bessey: “We’ve had the honor of getting to know Anthony through his involvement with our Foundation. Hiking 271 miles takes more than just strong muscles. It takes commitment, dedication and perseverance– all of which Anthony has in abundance. This was such a huge challenge, and to think that this young man’s motivation came from such a selfless place speaks volumes about the type of person Anthony is.”

“It feels great to help people who need it,” says the Timson award winner. “I’d like to think that if I were the one in need of help, someone would be there for me. We all need each other.”

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