Franklin Countys First News

Nominations open for Gary A. LaGrange award

UWTVA Director Lisa Laflin (left) presents the Gary A. Lagrange Community Impact Award to Shannon Smith (right) at last year's award ceremony.

FARMINGTON - The United Way of the Tri-Valley Area is seeking nominations for the annual Gary A. LaGrange Community Impact Award.

Gary’s commitment to serving others was lifelong. His passion for helping people with energy conservation fueled his career with Maine Community Action agencies, including building and repairing homes, facilitating fuel assistance programs, conducting energy audits and teaching home buyer education. He was often asked to go the extra step to help a homeowner, and this he willingly did, often on his on time.

Volunteerism also had a constant presence in Gary’s life...playing Santa for Headstart classrooms each holiday, directing hundreds of Christmas packages to happy children through Operation Santa Claus and fueling his love for the arts by spending many hours bringing sets to life with the Sandy River Players. Upon retirement, Gary devoted himself to volunteering full time as a lead volunteer with the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area program called the Community Energy Challenge: building interior storm panels to save homeowners’ energy and providing energy education help to control fuel costs – a simple idea with powerful and cost-saving results. He was also a fifth Degree member and served on the Executive Committee of the Wilson Grange, as well as a site manager for East Parish Housing Ministry, helping rehab homes with visiting mission groups.

Gary took immense pride in acting without expectation and encouraging others to do the same. He walked beside us all towards a better community and that is truly impactful. Gary left a loving family and community behind passing away, Dec. 15, 2013. The United Way is honored to continue his legacy of caring with this award.

If you know someone who embodies this dedication to service, nominate them today! Nominees should consistently go above and beyond to make a difference in our community. It is on the shoulders of these giants of community service that we stand to reach our goals.

Past recipients include: Brent and Bertha Smith, Rev. Susan Crane, Ecumenical Heating Fund; Crystal Cook of the United Methodist Economic Ministry; Peter Judkins, Franklin Savings Bank; Barclays Employees; Trish and Gordie Flint, Tri-County Mental Health Services; Flo and John Caldwell, Stratton/Eustis Food Pantry; the board of Western Maine Homeless Outreach, Dennis O’Neil, Judy Frost of Western Maine Community Action Shannon Smith, Wilton Blueberry Festival.

Applications are due annually on Jan. 15, 2020. They can be completed online (visit for the link) or you can download a paper copy.
For more information about United Way, visit, call the office at (207) 778-5048, visit Facebook (, or stop by the office at 218 Fairbanks Rd. in Farmington.

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