By Christopher Crosby
PARIS— The Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce announced its 2013 Business and Community Award winners. OHCC Executive Director John Williams recognized two local business and two individuals at a press conference held Monday in the chamber’s building on Western Avenue in South Paris. The yearly awards have been ongoing since 1971. In his opening remarks, Williams said that the recipients went ‘above and beyond’ to improve the Oxford Hills community. ‘The individuals here today represent the good things going on,’ Williams said. ‘They’re going to do great things in 2014.’ The Oxford Federal Credit Union won the Business of the Year Award. The credit union supports a variety of community initiatives, including Aspire Higher education programs Williams said. Maureen Howard, Director of the Oxford Hills Community Education Exchange, wrote in her nomination that the “Oxford Federal Credit Union has made an invaluable impact on the education of our Oxford Hills students over the past seven years.” SAD 17 Business Manager Cathy Fanjoy-Coffey, instrumental in the district’s budget process, took home the Employee of the Year Award. Fanjoy-Coffey was nominated by chamber board member Anna Palmer and SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts. “Cathy has worked 20-plus years for the school district and she is the quiet voice who takes little credit yet has a huge impact in the district,” Colpitts wrote in his nomination. Fanjoy-Coffey said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the award, and more than a little nervous by the limelight. ‘I prefer to be behind the desk with the numbers,’ Fanjoy-Coffey said, adding, ‘It’s a huge honor.’ Williams noted that several past employee of the year candidates have come from the school district in the past several years, such as Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School principal Ted Moccia. Buy the Fire – a stove and fire place dealer – won the Rising Star Award. The Oxford-based company has been in business seven years and is the only one of its kind in Maine with two master hearth professionals.
The business, according to Williams, is very active in business after-hours gatherings. Owners Don and Dianne Ferry are ‘leaders in their industry’ Williams said. ‘It’s so important to see this kind of people engaged in the communities they live in,’ he added. Oxford resident Ronald Kugell won the Community Service Award for his work in the county stretching back over 30 years. Kugell currently serves as Chairman of the SAD 17 Board of Directors As former Science teacher, Assistant Principal, Adult Education Director, and Police Chief, Kugell’s nomination was ‘long overdue’ Williams said. Thirteen people, including members of the chamber’s board of directors and Carlene Tremblay, aide to U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), attended the press conference. The award winners are invited to attend a dinner with keynote speaker Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, on March 7 at the Four Seasons Function Center in Paris. Tremblay said Sen. Collins will focus on job creation and economic development in her speech. Ticket information for the dinner will be forthcoming.