Portland native supports naval shipyard in response to COVID-19

Portland native Petty Officer 1st Class Blasius Duffygoodman has been deployed to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Contributed / Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 2020 University of Southern Maine graduate and native of Portland is serving at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as part of the largest mobilization of reservists in Naval Sea Systems Command history. The mobilization is tied directly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petty Officer 1st Class Blasius Duffygoodman is one of the reserve sailors deployed to the Navy’s four public shipyards as part of the Surge Maintenance program. Established in 2005 to augment the Navy’s organic civilian shipyard workforce in times of need, SurgeMain has 2,200 enlisted reserve sailors and 240 reserve officers across 75 units.

“Living in Maine and mobilizing to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, adds a local factor to the equation,” Duffygoodman said. “I am not only serving to support my country, I am also serving to support my local community.”

Hires, promotions, appointments

The City of South Portland recently hired two new department heads. Donald “Skip” Hopkins is new to the city and will fill the vacancy left by Facilities Director David Cunningham, who resigned in September. Brad Weeks was promoted from within the Water Resource Protection Department to fill the position of Water Resource Protection director vacated by Pat Cloutier. Cloutier retired in December after 41 years in with the department, the last 28 as director. In addition, Cashel Stewart will join South Portland’s Sustainability Department as the city’s first sustainable transportation coordinator.


James Adsit was promoted from Northern Maine director of commercial banking at Camden National Bank to senior vice president, Southern Maine director of commercial banking. Based out of Portland, Adsit will be responsible for managing all commercial banking activities and production in Southern Maine markets.


In a new role for the company, Tabatha McKay has been named area vice president/general manager of the New England market for UScellular. Included will be the store in South Portland and agent locations in the area. McKay will be working out of the South Portland regional offices.


Portland musician Isa Burke is among the 24 musicians selected to receive grant funding from Passim Iguana Music Fund, a Massachusetts-based organization that awarded over $40,000 to 24 musicians in 2020. Burke plans to use the grant to buy recording equipment and record a solo album.

People’s United Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of People’s United Bank, announced the awards of $182,500 in grants to 32 nonprofit organizations throughout Maine during 2020. Organizations working with communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic were provided with flexible funding to use however it was needed. Local recipients included Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Avesta Housing, Easter Seals Maine, SCORE Portland, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick and Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

The Avangrid Foundation has awarded a grant for $10,000 to the Midcoast Youth Center.

“This incredibly generous grant will go a long way to supporting nearly 35-plus homeless students from Bath to Topsham, including Harpswell and Brunswick,” said Merrymeeting Homeless Outreach Director Donna Verhoeven. “Our needs are great … COVID-19 has only intensified that need. It’s difficult to express just how grateful we are for this incredible financial support. It’s critical.”

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland has received a $12,000 grant from State Farm Insurance. The funds will be used to support Habitat for Humanity’s upcoming eight-home community, Sunset Place, in South Portland.

“We are so grateful to State Farm for this generous grant that will support our new building projects,” said Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland Interim Executive Director John Shumadine. “State Farm is a longtime champion of Habitat, both financially and in volunteer hours.”