One of the best things we do at the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber is we give annual awards to deserving individuals and businesses. These awards are our way of saying thank you to the people in our communities who help us thrive. These awards are highly competitive with many deserving candidates. With all of the success in the Midcoast region over the past year, I have no doubt that we will find many deserving winners, but to find them we need your help.

The chamber award categories that we are now accepting nominations for are: Large Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, President’s Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Young Professional of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Harry C. Crooker Lifetime Achievement Award.

The criteria for these awards is available on our website and will be highlighted in future columns.

If you want to submit a nomination you can do so through the website, or simply by emailing [email protected] The award winners will be announced by Feb. 1, with an awards night in late February/early March. Deadline for submission is Jan. 15, 2018.

However, there is one prestigious award that we also give that night, which I would like to focus on, and that is the Joshua L. Chamberlain Award.

This award is not given solely by the chamber but in conjunction with our local military organizations. The individual who wins this award should be one whose activities have served to build upon the close relationship and understanding existing between the military and civilian components of the greater Brunswick-Topsham-Bath community. Any individual that lives/works or has lived/worked in the chamber’s 16 communities is eligible for nomination.

In 1976, the Brunswick-Topsham-Bath Community Council decided that it was appropriate to recognize those individuals in our area who, through their outstanding dedication and service toward the best possible military-community relationship within this area, deserved to be singled out, congratulated, and remembered. Soldier, statesman, educator and businessman Joshua L. Chamberlain was selected as the namesake for an annual award to be given by the council. Through the collective effort of many individuals, over many years, an excellent relationship has been fostered between the military and civilian communities in this region, and that should be celebrated.

The council exists now to determine the best recipient of this award and the chamber has tied the presentation of the award into our annual awards night. Therefore, the chamber has no say in who wins the award, the select members of the council do that, because quite simply they are better equipped to judge this. The chamber recognizes the unique importance our military families have had in shaping our region and so we are proud to partner in helping bring awareness to this year’s deserving recipient.

But who will it be? Partially that is where you come in.

Who is that person who helped shape this community through their involvement and interactions with military? Who is the person who continues to do that today?

Any military or civilian member of the greater Brunswick-Topsham-Bath community is eligible. The best nominations will address lifetime and recent military-community relationship initiatives during the past several years as demonstrated by: personal exemplary activity in positions of responsibility; volunteer service in activities such as sports, hobbies, social events, associations, etc.; participation in local community activities such as church groups, youth groups, sports or philanthropic organizations, housing associations, etc.; and/or volunteer service supporting military personnel or activities.

Nomination forms should include specific accomplishments as well as a sense of who the nominated person is. Describe their character and passion so the council has an idea, of not just what they have done, but also who they are and what they value.

Nomination forms must be signed by whomever is nominating the individual for recognition. The nomination form is available through the chamber office, the SMMC website ( and available by email. For more information, you can always call the SMMC at (207) 725-8797. If faxing your form, please call first for the fax number. All nominations can be returned to: SMMC, P.O. Box 33, Brunswick, ME 04011, or [email protected]

However, you don’t need the official form either, if you just follow the criteria listed above. If you have read this far already, then there is a good chance there is someone this has already brought to mind. Give us their name, business name (if appropriate), address, phone and email (if appropriate). Please give us your information too, in case we have follow questions that we can call you with or email to you. Please note, we can keep your nomination confidential from your nominee upon request.

After that, tell us what makes them the best person based on the criteria described above. Give us their dates of service, or the names of the programs they have worked with. Describe what they’re doing now to help their communities and local military personnel, and why you think they deserve this honor above other deserving recipients. Tell us a story of what makes them great.

Again, nominations are due no later than Jan. 15, as the council needs to decide in fast order after that for the announcement of the winner by Feb. 1. I hope this column has brought the ideal candidate to your mind and that we will hear from you soon.

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