Greg Payne, Nicole Witherbee, board president Cito Selinger and Mark Swann
Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award recipient Peggy Akers with Florence Young
Volunteer of the Year Diane Cota with her daughter, Emma
Charles Dingman, Christine Hastedt and Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice Partners, recipient of the Community Partner Award, with Preble Street Director of Advocacy Donna Yellen
Preble Street Announces Community Awards
More than two hundred staff and guests joined Preble Street on June 18 for the agency’s Annual Meeting to honor staff, community partners and volunteers for their commitment to helping our neighbors in need.
Maine Equal Justice Partners was presented with the Community Partner Award, which recognizes an organization, group or funder that has had a profound impact on our work, our mission and our clients.
Charles Dingman, board president and Christine Hastedt, public policy director, accepted the award for Maine Equal Justice Partners. In presenting the award, Donna Yellen, Preble Street director of advocacy recalled several instances in recent years when MEJP’s assistance played a key role in maintaining vital services for Mainers experiencing poverty, hunger and homelessness.
Other awards included the Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award, presented by David Kreisler, to Peggy Akers of Portland. Akers has dedicated her career to ensuring that people suffering with homelessness and poverty have access to healthcare. From her service as an army nurse in Vietnam to her tireless work at the City of Portland Homeless Health Clinic, Akers has helped many people maintain their health, heal from injuries and manage illness.
Diane Cota of Georgetown was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Cota is known for the graceful way she completes any task given to her, whether it is chopping pounds of onions at the Florence House kitchen or analyzing the responses to a survey of individuals who access food pantries.
Service awards were presented to Preble Street staff Maria Tripp for fifteen years and Joe Conroy, Melanie McKean, John Sevigny and Richard Tucker for five years of service.
In addition, Terry Sutton of Cumberland was recognized as Board Member of the Year for her leadership and commitment. Cathy Houlihan was thanked in absentia for her seven years of service as she steps down from her position on the board.
Throughout the meeting, staff members presented on each of Preble Street’s programs. As Bill Burns, coordinator of the Resource Center shared:
“Few places in America embody those aspirations like Preble Street. The tempests our clients endure can involve incarceration, addiction, mental and physical health problems, stigma, its correlates and the crushing belief that you are not welcome anywhere.
Imagine how that would feel.
And then, an outreach worker like Peggy Lynch shepherds you towards the corner of Preble and Portland Streets and suddenly you’re not an ex-con with a felony conviction, a serious untreated mental health problem, a face full of tattoos that many would find offensive
. . . you’re Richard.
Instead of finding rejection and shaming, you find Andrew, one of our caseworkers who sat with you and listened. He worked hard to know not just Richard the client, but Richard the man. When things got hard, he continued to know you and deepen his understanding of your situation. You built trust. Armed with resources, tenacity and hope, together you and Andrew began a journey that ultimately resulted in you getting an apartment, in which you recently held your first bar-b-que with friends and your pet cat.
This is just one example of the kind of work our team does at the Resource Center every day. “