SKOWHEGAN — Walter Hight, of the Hight group of auto dealerships, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Alton W. Whittemore Award by the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce.

It the highest award presented each year by the Chamber. The award for outstanding service, known as the chamber’s “most dignified” award, is named for a man who dedicated much of his life in service to the community.

Chamber Executive Director Jason Gayne said the award honors Whittemore for his 40 years of support and dedication to the Chamber and 60 years of service to Skowhegan. The award recipients are people “most worthy to bear the name and having displayed similar service” to the Chamber, he said.

“This is the highest award that we give out as the Chamber. In memory of Alton, we honor Walter Hight this year,” Gayne said. “Walter has been involved in so many organizations and boards over the years and continues today to still be involved. He gives endless hours and service to the Skowhegan area.

“You can be in a different part of the state and mention Walter Hight, and people know who you are talking about and the amount that he has helped them. He is the type of person that just does something and does not like to take the credit for, but gives the credit to everyone around him. He is so much like the person that Alton was, and this is some of why he deserves this great award.”

Illustrating Gayne’s comment about Hight not liking to take credit when the credit is due, Hight said he was surprised he was picked for the award, when others are equally deserving.


“Very much, yes,” he said. “It really should go to my brother, Lou; also my family, my dedicated employees. Without them it wouldn’t have happened anyway. Make sure you put dedicated employees; without them, you got nothing. We tried to give back to the community we lived in.”

Hight, 66, previously was president of the Chamber and served on other volunteer boards, but he is best know for rebuilding the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds.

The Hight group of auto dealerships has three locations in Skowhegan and one in Farmington. Walter Hight and his family own harness race horses, including Postcard Jack, the standardbred horse with the most wins in state history. Walter Hight also is an avid collector of antique and classic automobiles.

“It’s quite an honor,” he said of the Chamber award.

Hight has two sons, Toby and Corey. His wife, Sandi, died in February.

Nominees for the award come from Chamber membership and are selected by the Awards and Recognition Committee, which is made up of past winners of the awards.


The awards banquet is scheduled for 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at T&B’s Celebration Center on outer Madison Avenue.

Other 2018 award winners are:

• Small Business of the Year: Snack Shack

This award goes to a small-business Chamber member that has been in business for a few years and offers outstanding service and products to the community. The Snack Shack team is community-minded and gives as much as it can to various clubs and organizations in the Skowhegan area. Whoever goes into the restaurant finds that most of the family is working to serve customers, Gayne said.

• Large Business of the Year: Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream

A company that goes back to the 1800s, the company continues to offer a great product in an ever-expanding service area, Gayne said. Now selling over 1.7 million gallons of ice cream each year and serving more than a million cones each summer from five family-owned and operated stands, the company’s factory in Skowhegan and its expansion have done wonderful things for the community, he said, calling it a true family business, with many of the family members still involved in the company.


• Board of Directors’ Award: T&B’s Celebration Center

In recognition of leadership and support to the community, the business continues to be an asset and an important business to the community, Gayne said. T&B’s has a long history in the community with all the events it hosts, giving to the community and being always willing to help when and where it can.

• Educational Leader of the Year: Mike Walker

The award is given in recognition of Walker’s over 30 years of educational leadership and inspiration that he have passed onto his students that they take with them today, Gayne said. Over the years, Walker’s willingness to go above and beyond shows that he not only cared for the students but wanted them to learn the most that they could.

• Community Impact Award: Mark and Deb Tanner

The Tanners have dedicated and spent endless hours to help the community in which they live. If there is ever a need, they are willing to listen and help when and how they can, Gayne said, calling the Tanners community-minded and saying they always care for the people around them first.


• Volunteer of the Year: Levi Rossignol

This year’s award goes to a youth who has proved to be a great asset to both the Chamber and the community, Gayne said, adding that Rossignol has helped gather petitions and work the haunted hayrides, among other things.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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