BATH — Jamie Dorr, president of Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skate Park and founder of Midcoast Community Alliance was named Bath’s Citizen of the Year at the city’s annual Autumnfest and Citizen Involvement Day Oct. 7.

Three additional awards were given. The Youth Award went to the Morse High School Jobs for Maine Graduates program; Friends of Zorach Fountain received the Community Project of the Year for their work; and the Al Smith Community Spirit Award went to Bath Elks Lodge 934.

Online nominations opened in August, and a small committee selects the winners, said Marc Meyers, director of community development.

Awards were presented by Erika Benson, who works at the city manager’s office, and Council Chair Mari Eosco. “We say thank you every year to the Bath community with this event,” Benson said, “These awards acknowledge those who’ve done a stellar job in the last year.”

Citizen of the Year is given to “a Bath citizen who participates in numerous community organizations, reflecting outstanding service to the Bath community.”

“Jamie Dorr is recognized as the 2017 Citizen of the Year for her untiring, infectious energy,” Benson said, noting Dorr’s founding of Midcoast Community Alliance, a network of 25 different organizations working together to reduce mental health stigma, encourage support and reduce suicide.

“Jamie has been at the forefront of addressing high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide in our community. She has also served as a tireless advocate for the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skate Park, maintaining it as a safe space for teenagers and instituting several initiatives to help homeless youth, and also is a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Bath-Brunswick,” Benson added.

Dorr accepted her award through tears, explaining later, “our community has really come together to talk about really hard things,” since she started Midcoast Community Alliance a year ago.
“It is a wonderful thing to be recognized,” she said. “Something like this gives us a larger platform than we might’ve had before. Since the award ceremony, I’ve heard from a mom who lost a child to suicide. This gives people permission to reach out.”

Dorr also was quick to acknowledge the City of Bath and Regional School Unit 1 for their support. “I wouldn’t be able to do half of what I do without (Bath police) Chief Mike Field and Steve Balboni (director of parks and recreation). And there are 30 more just like them.”

Community Project of the Year was awarded to Friends of the Zorach Fountain, who renovated the pond that surrounds the Spirit of the Sea fountain in City Park. This honor goes to “a notable project or organization that addresses Bath community needs in a positive, nurturing and significant way.”

“The pond restoration project provided a stunning setting for the sculpture and assured the fountain’s stability for years to come. The Friends of the Zorach Fountain organized a major fundraising campaign to initiate the project and worked with the City of Bath and Jorgensen Landscaping to realize its plan,” Benson said.

Friends membership numbers between 150-200, and each member pays annual dues that go directly to the care and maintenance of the pond and fountain. Additionally, the group raised funds for four years to address the needs to the sculpture and its setting.

“It’s certainly great to be recognized,” said Betsy Harrington, treasurer of the Friends of Zorach Fountain. “It’s a priceless and irreplaceable piece of art that we are happy to support.”

Friends of the Zorach Fountain accept the award for Project of the Year. Raye Leonard - Coastal Journal

The Youth Award is given to “a youth, up to 21 years old, who has done an outstanding civic service to the Bath schools or community, who resides or attends schools in Bath.”

Benson said, “Under the guidance of Maria Morris, students of Morse High School’s JMG program excel at the community service component of their education and are praised by area non-profits for their work ethic and professionalism.”

Morse JMG helps at the Bath Area Food Mobile, assists at the Bath Area Food Bank and tends to the grounds of Bath Housing properties with seasonal cleanup days, she added. Students also connected with Bath Housing residents to create a Facebook page of memories and stories.

“It was an honor to be nominated by our community partners and to have been selected by the City of Bath,” Maria Morris said. “JMG students take pride in being student philanthropists and know how important it is to contribute to the greater good. Sometimes we don’t know the impact we have and this award let students know how much their work is valued.”

Students in Maria Morris’ JMG program at Morse receive the Youth Award from Council Chair Mari Eosco. Raye Leonard - Coastal Journal

The Al Smith Community Spirit Award, named for the man who started Citizen Involvement Day, is given to “a person or group that demonstrates vision, leadership, and steadfast commitment to projects that enhance the Bath community.”

The 2017 award went to Bath Elks Lodge 934 for its “commitment to the community through membership’s countless hours toward community service, raising funds for numerous organizations and providing its facility as a meeting place,” Benson said, adding Bath Elks support youth sports and activities, give scholarships to area students, collect and deliver food baskets during the holidays and volunteer at the Bath Area Food Bank.

Bath Elks Post 934 received the Al Smith Community Spirit Award. Raye Leonard - Coastal Journal

Other events during Autumnfest and Citizen Involvement Day included the Great Scarecrow event, hosted by Bath Parks and Recreation Department on the Customs House lawn. Families could make a scarecrow with their own clothes and wood, and hay donated by the city.

Local nonprofits set up information tables along Waterfront Park and shared the space with Bath Farmers Market, accompanied by the tunes of Driving Charlie Home.

“Swede” helps people find their lost pets for Paw in the Door feline rescue. Raye Leonard - Coastal Journal

North Front Street was closed for a block party that included Steelin’ Thunder, a steel drum band, pumpkin bowling, grilled sausage and hot dogs, and booths hosted by Sunnybrook Village and the Morse High School cheerleaders.

Many downtown businesses also featured sales and special events that celebrated fall, neighbors and the Bath community.