AUGUSTA — A sellout crowd of 900 voted by text message Friday to choose the winners of three of the annual awards given out by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Kenney Awards, presented annually, celebrate the accomplishments of business people in central Maine at a black-tie event at the Augusta Civic Center.

In addition to the nominees for the CYNERGY Young Professionals Award, the Community Service Award and the President’s Award, the winners of four awards already announced also attended. They are:

• The O’Connor Auto Park, 2019 Large Business of the year

Clark Marine, 2019 Small Business of the Year

John Fallona, 2019 recipient of the Peter G. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter Prescott,is the recipient of the Special Service Award.

Voters chose Craig Garofalo, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Kennebec Savings Bank as the winner of the 2019 Cynergy Young Professional Award.

The award recognizes people with a long-term commitment to the betterment of the Kennebec Valley and is open to people ages 21 to 40 who have shown exemplary leadership throughout the region.

In accepting his award, Garofalo congratulated his fellow nominees.

“I’m excited to see what the both of you will do for our great community,” he said.

Jessilin Quint, an optometrist and co-owner at Smart EyeCare Center in Augusta, who also serves on the Cynergy Steering Committee, and Courtney Yeager, the director of resource development and marketing for the United Way of Kennebec Valley, were also nominated.

Voters chose the Viles Arboretum, an education- and conservation-centered nonprofit in Augusta, as the winner of the 2019 Community Service Award.

The Community Service Award recognizes nominees who are active in bettering the Kennebec Valley and are recognized by their peers for their integrity and performance.

“During the last 10 years, we have worked very hard,” said Mark DesMeules, executive director of the Viles Arboretum, said.

DesMeules said the organization’s accomplishments are a tribute board President Kathleen Leyden and its members, who have grown in number from 125 to 500.

“Our success is due to every one of you, and I am proud to be representing you.”

Augusta’s First Amendment Museum, whose goal it is to educate and inspire people to use their voice to strengthen democracy and to empower Americans to live their freedoms, and Hallowell’s Harlow Gallery, which offers exhibitions, workshops and lectures and special events for adults and schoolchildren, also were nominated.

Voters chose Maine Isshinryu Karate Academies as the winner of the President’s Choice Award.

The President’s Choice Award recognizes chamber members who have had an effect on the region through revenue growth and job creation. They are industry leaders and maintain an exemplary business image in the community.

In accepting the award, co-owner Rebecca Pushard thanked the voters.

“It’s an incredible honor to be nominated,” Pushard said.

Their success would not be possible, Pushard said, without the academies’ “rock-star team.” They are also blessed, she said, by their staff, children and parents.

“We truly do have the best jobs,” she said.

Gardiner Federal Credit Union, which serves anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Kennebec and Lincoln counties and Richmond in Sagadahoc County and Palermo in Waldo County; and Readfield’s Merrill’s Detector Dog Service, a nationally recognized provider of dog teams trained in explosives, narcotics and bedbug detection, were also nominees.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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