Stephen August receives the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award from the City of Bath on Saturday, Oct. 10. The awards are part of Bath’s annual Citizen Involvement Day. Courtesy / City of Bath

BATH — City officials held Bath’s annual Citizen Involvement Day ceremony last weekend to honor extraordinary local residents, despite the coronavirus forcing them to make a few logistical changes.

The city recognized Stephen August as its Citizen of the Year. According to the city’s website, officials recognized him for his quiet but important “nuts and bolts” work as a member of the boards of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and the Patten Free Library, along with his service on the RSU 1 school board.

“He has fostered an environment where collaboration trumps competition and, in doing so, grown a patchwork of partnerships that genuinely enrich the lives of Bath’s citizens and visitors,” organizers said.

August, 74, said he and his wife have lived in Bath for the past 13 years and felt a need to work for organizations such as the land trust and library.

“I recognized generally the role not-for-profits have in the community,” he said.

Joining the land trust was easy, he said, because he already spends a lot of time outdoors through nature walking and hiking. He said he has always had a love for local libraries as well, hence his involvement with the Patten Free Library.

Wendy Jung, right, receives the Al Smith Community Spirit Award from Bath City Council Vice Chair and Maine State Rep. Sean Pawlhus. Courtesy / City of Bath

“The library is such an important part of our community,” he said.

Local photographer and athletic coach Wendy Jung received the Al Smith Community Spirit Award. Event organizers noted Jung, 47, has served as the Morse High School lacrosse and field hockey coach. She has also served as PTA president, runs a program called “Build Her Up,” a fitness program for female athletes. Jung said she started the program to give local girls a chance to learn about strength training and conditioning. Such programs already exist for boys, designed to be a supplement to traditional sports practices, but she noted “it’s always been more of a ‘guy’ thing,” and said, “I just thought it was time for girls to have an opportunity.”

The city’s website also mentioned the annual “Trick or TROMP” and food drive for the Bath Area Food Bank, which Jung created in 2008. The drive gives young children a chance to dress up, play carnival games and trick-or-treat along Front Street, which is closed to vehicle traffic for the kids. Jung said she wanted the event to be a less scary, less intimidating event for local children.

“It’s really low key, but we have 300-400 people come,” she said.

Jung was also recognized for offering free school portraits for the 2020 seniors once the coronavirus shut down many of the graduation activities. She also worked to turn all the kids’ photos into banners that the city hung downtown at graduation time.

“It was really exciting to go into town and see the kids looking at their banners and taking selfies with them,” she said.

Jung, who is married and has three daughters of her own, said she always wanted to contribute to the community and working with kids seemed like the best way for her to do that.

“I love to coach and mentor the kids,” she said.

The city holds the event every year to honor “individuals and groups that work to benefit the City of Bath and its residents,” according to a description of the event on the city’s website.

Lindsey Goudreau, the city’s marketing and communications specialist, said the event went very well in spite of the coronavirus restrictions. The awards were given in person in the auditorium at City Hall, but this year the recipients were only allowed in the room one at a time and only with close family and friends, and everyone wore masks for protection.

“It’s not as exciting when you don’t have a roomful of people applauding and cheering you on, but at least were able to celebrate in some way,” she said.

August said receiving the award was “a surprise,” but that he hopes the awards serve as an inspiration to people to volunteer their time for their local communities.

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