KENNEBUNKPORT — Two local men were among the over 500 donors and volunteers the Seashore Trolley Museum thanked at a virtual Volunteer & Donor Appreciation evening on Dec, 29. The event was to show gratitude to those who supported the museum through a challenging year in 2020. The museum was able to remain open for roughly 60 percent of their usual operating season days due to hardworking volunteers who continued to operate trolleys throughout spring, summer, and fall 2020, according to a museum press release.

Two special recognitions were awarded to two very deserving local volunteers — Biddeford resident John Mercurio Jr. and Saco resident Phil Morse.

Mercurio was presented with the Roger E. Somers Legacy Award, which is given annually to a Railway Operations volunteer who exemplifies an unwavering passion to live the mission, a positive spirit, a genuine desire to mentor others, and servant leadership. The 2019 recipient was Roger Tobin of Arundel.

John Mercurio Jr. Biddeford receives the Seashore Trolley Museum’s 2020 Roger E. Somers Legacy Award. Courtesy photo

As an operator for over 2020 years, Mercurio “was an integral member of the trolley operating crew as a dispatcher throughout the season,” according to the release. “Over the years, he has served as a role model and mentor to several new trolley operators. His enthusiasm is only surpassed by his concern for the safety of both Seashore passengers and volunteers. He arrives early and stays late on a consistent basis. He takes responsibilities seriously and always can be counted upon to go above and beyond. Those who visited Seashore Trolley Museum in 2020 most likely know John; he volunteered on the trolley crew over half of the days the museum was open last year.”

Phil Morse of Saco was presented with the George Sanborn Silent Leader Award, which is given annually to a long-time volunteer who works tirelessly behind-the-scenes and contributes more time than any other member would realize, no matter what it takes. Past winners are CC Clapp of Kennebunkport in 2018 and Fred Hessler of Londonderry, New Hampshire in 2019.

Phil Morse of Saco receives the Seashore Trolley Museum’s 2020 George Sanborn Silent Leader Award. Courtesy photo

Morse has been a Seashore volunteer for decades, according to the release. He filled many roles on campus in 2020; in addition to continuing to serve as the Narcissus Restoration Project Sponsor, a heritage trolley restoration project, this season Morse spent hundreds of hours painting the Visitors Center. He led docent-guided tours back in May and June as a way for the museum to remain open with pandemic restrictions at that time. Phil also helped re-imagine what would end up being the museum’s largest fundraiser this season, Pumpkin Patch Trolley, by donating decorations and his time to create fall-themed photo experiences across the campus. Morse also invested hundreds of hours into creating lesson plans and other educator resources to accompany the young adult book he published on behalf of the museum in 2019, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride. Resources for grades 3-8 are now available online at

Located at 195 Log Cabin Road in Kennebunkport, Seashore Trolley Museum is the world’s oldest and largest electric railway and transit museum. Volunteers play a key role in helping the museum fulfill its mission and open to the general public from May-December each year. For more information on how you can get involved as a volunteer, please visit or call 207-967-2800.

Phil Morse of Saco receives Seashore Trolley Museum’s 2020 George Sanborn Silent Leader Award.

John Mercurio Jr. of Biddeford receives Seashore Trolley Museum’s 2020 Roger E. Somers Legacy Award.

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