Daddy O’s, Letourneau win Chamber awards

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    HONORS IN THE OXFORD HILLS — Executive Director for the chamber John Williams, stands with the winners for 2018's annual awards. From left, Kathryn Letourneau of Norway Savings Bank, Daddy O's Diner founders Aaron and Amanda Ouellette, and Keith Poland, Owner of Flanders Electric (Sandra and Peter Fickett, owners of Tilton's Market in Buckfield did not attend)

    PARIS — The Oxford County Chamber of Commerce has honored Daddy O’s Diner with it’s Community Service Award for 2018 .

    The annual award recipients were announced last week.

    The Chamber annual award categories included Business of the Year, Rising Star, Employee of the Year and Community Service.

    The winners will be honored the annual awards ceremony and dinner at the Silver Spur Dance Hall in Mechanic Falls center in March.  The chamber has been awarding businesses in this manner since 1970.

    Chamber Executive Director John Williams elaborated, “Since that time it has evolved into an event where we have a number of different community awards we provide … the community service award has always been highly prized in this area.”

    Aaron and Amanda Ouellette, owner-founders of Daddy Os, described some of the community-oriented practices that earned them the award.

    “It is so humbling to be recognized in this way, and not at all why we do it,” said Aaron Ouellette. “Every month we do a community dinner on the fourth Thursday of the month; totally free. We put it up as donations only so if somebody can pay great, put what you can in the bucket.”

    Those unable to pay are welcome to have a meal and then continue on their way. Ouellette explained that they select different charities that will keep proceeds in the area. “My only restriction is any of the charities, if it goes out it has to stay in Oxford Hills.”

    In addition to providing food for the community, the Ouellettes also raised more than $4,000 around Thanksgiving of last year for the Heating Assistance Program administered by the state Housing Authority.

    Employee of the Year Kathryn Letourneau, a Norway Savings Bank vice president as well as the Retail & Indirect Lending Officer, handles mortgages and loans for things like boats and RVs.  She described her road to NSB. “I worked in banking 14 years before coming to this area. When I wanted to work at Norway someone had to die or retire for a new person to get it. I was lucky that neither of those things happened. I came in and never looked back.”

    Letourneau said the secret to her was that, “I work for a company that is like a family. We continue to grow but yet we stay very community focused.”

    Tilton’s Market on Turner Street in Buckfield won the Chamber’s Rising Star Award. Williams describes the market’s development; “They have been growing like crazy in the last year, and are doing a terrific job in the Buckfield area.” Family owned and operated since 1939, Tilton’s offers a full-service butcher’s counter, deli, bakery and grocery.

    This year’s Business of the Year award went to Flanders Electric. Keith Poland, who purchased the company from Carol and Leslie Flanders in 2012, was humble in his attribution of his success to their precedent.

    “We were lucky to have a big clientele base before I bought it that I was able to keep it going, grow it, push.” Said Poland. Peter Levasseur, was there to personally thank Poland and offer a stellar review. “As a generator owner, I really appreciated the service that [Flanders Electric] provided after that 4-day outage that we had, sending your people out again to refurbish our generators, their service department is just stupendous!”

    The dinner at the Silver Spur in Mechanics’s Falls is expected to see approximately 300 attendees, according to Williams.

    abrown@advertiserdemocrat.com

    IN GOOD COMPANY — The 2018 award winners share stories and a few laughs.