Rebecca Ketchum, president of the Norridgewock Historical Society, and Town Manager Richard LaBelle at the Historical Society on Friday in Norridgewock. Ketchum, 74, has won a national Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award, which includes a $10,000 grant to the town to support recruitment and retention of local public service volunteers and a custom website with a year of maintenance. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

NORRIDGEWOCK — Because of her service to the community, Rebecca Ketchum has an award recognizing her commitment to Norridgewock, and the town has a $10,000 grant to help fill the need for volunteers and a custom website.

“She’s done quite a lot for the town,” said Sallie Wilder, who serves alongside Ketchum on several boards and committees in town and is also a close friend. “She’s very energetic and always willing to help out.”

Earlier this month, Ketchum, 74, won a national Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award, which includes the grant intended to support recruitment and retention of local public service volunteers and a custom website with a year of maintenance.

The Small Town America Civic Volunteer Awards are sponsored by CivicPlus, a company many government agencies use for website development, according to Town Manager Richard LaBelle. The program recognizes 100 top national nominees who are selected by a panel of judges.

LaBelle said he nominated Ketchum after her commitment to the community had received prior recognition. Ketchum was awarded the 2020 Spirit of America award for the town.

“She’s probably on half a dozen elected and appointed boards,” LaBelle said. “It seemed like the natural next step to nominate someone like Becky for this.”

Ketchum said she sits on the Library Board, of which she is the chairperson, TIF Committee, Revitalization Committee, Cemetery Committee, Budget Committee and Planning Board. She is also president of the Norridgewock Historical Society and a member of the Somerset Grange.

“It’s really encouraging to see Becky get recognized, and this is huge for the community,” LaBelle said. “It’s great to make a mark in the community through small acts of kindness, and to see the town of Norridgewock receive national recognition because of people like Becky.”

Ketchum said her family has been in Norridgewock for generations. Her parents bought the historical Sophie May House in 1951, and she spent her summers in Maine. Her family retired to Norridgewock, and when she retired in 2016, she wanted to continue to help improve the town.

“I love the town,” Ketchum said. “They needed help, and I liked that they were receptive to having help. There was a lot to be done.”

LaBelle said in her letter recommending Ketchum that she is reliable and thorough in her service, and her attention to detail provides a professional perspective. A key member of last year’s Oosoola Days planning committee and president of the Norridgewock Historical Society, she spearheaded the first duck race in town.

“Ready to help, she has become a fixture on many committees,” LaBelle’s letter said. “Becky is an invaluable resource to our community, willing to give her personal and professional knowledge to further the promotion of Norridgewock.”

Wilder said it is hard to find volunteers and is thankful to have Ketchum helping out the town. Their friendship dates back at least 30 years, and the two became closer friends when Ketchum retired.

“I’m very happy that she got the award,” Wilder said. “It was very well-deserved. I think she’s a great choice and has done an awful lot for the town.

“She is willing to step in and do things, which is kind of hard these days to get people who will do community service work without expecting to get paid. She has gone out of her way to help and she enjoys it.”

Added LaBelle, “Becky goes above and beyond the call to make a meaningful impact in her hometown.”


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