From Our Readers | Love Letters to Mainers

For our Mainers of the Year Issue, we asked readers to write letters in honor of the people in their life who they consider to be Mainers of the Year.

Maria Millard Povec is a mother, wife, friend, public servant, soccer player, lover of the Maine outdoors, active community member, and neighbor. Professionally, Maria serves as a senior policy analyst with the Maine Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. She works on initiatives that will grow and diversify Maine’s economy, attract innovators and young families, and make Maine a better place to live for all residents. Personally, Maria is warm, funny, generous, and thoughtful. When my family and I moved to Belfast from Brooklyn, New York, Maria helped us make local networking connections, dropped off cherry tomatoes and dahlias from her garden, and invited us for beers at Marshall Wharf Brewing Company. And not just once—she continues doing these things. Neighborliness and community building are a way of life for her. She organized a meal train for my family after the recent birth of our second child and cracked the whip during the first week when participants were slow to sign up. Well, the meals soon started arriving on our doorstep. Maria has the energy, focus, and infectious enthusiasm of someone who gets things done and does them with joy. I’m nominating her for Mainer of the Year because it’s people like her who contribute to the high quality of life we Mainers enjoy and who have a vision for a healthy, sustainable, innovative Maine future.
—Nicole Cloutier, Belfast

My love letter is to Marcel Caron of Auburn. Marcel, where do I start to tell you how much I admire and love you? During a life battle with cancer, brain surgery, reconstruction shoulder surgery, and chemotherapy, you were there to help me settle me into a new apartment. You supported me through a leg injury and healing from a cardiac incident, texting every day to check that I am okay or if I need anything. You planted a beautiful flower garden (even though the squirrels ate all the flowers) for me to feel at home and special. You have made me laugh and given me hope and courage thorough it all, all the time fighting your personal war on cancer. You are a true miracle, cancer in remission, back to working a full-time and a part-time job, and finding time to make sure this elderly lady does not feel forgotten and to know she is loved. I am truly blessed by you in my life. You are my hero, and I will love you forever and ever, amen.
—Vicki D. Wright, Auburn

I am nominating Elizabeth McLellan, president and f ounder of Partners for World Health (PWH). Since 2009, when she founded PWH, Elizabeth has built an organization that works to improve the environment, reduce healthcare costs, increase healthcare access, and has created a network of over 120 partners through the U.S. and the developing world to provide low or no cost medical equipment and supplies. She leads PWH by example, taking no salary, and has created an organization where 98 percent of the work is carried out by volunteers ranging in age from teens to retirees. Since 2009 PWH has collected millions of pounds of discarded and surplus medical equipment and supplies that were headed for the landfills of New England. Through passion, diligence, passion, and ingenuity PWH routinely sends 22,000 pounds of reclaimed, restored, and rescued materials to hospitals and clinics in the developing world once, twice, and sometimes three times a month in 40-foot-long shipping containers. Over the years, dozens of hospitals in the developing world have benefited from this simple and profound idea that we should share the abundance and help one another out. In addition to this work, Elizabeth has also created medical missions that take volunteer surgeons, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, and medical students to those countries to train and educate healthcare workers on best practices in healthcare. A native of Camden, Maine, I can think of no better person to honor.
—Paul Golding, Portland

To Ingrid Stanchfield, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley. Ingrid is the founder of the Boys and Girls Club in Gardiner and has worked tirelessly over the past 25 years to provide a safe, secure place for children from infants through teens. This year has been especially difficult with COVID-19 still running its course, schools holding classes only part-time, and the challenges of finding and keeping quality employees during the pandemic. On top of all the challenges to keep the club open as much as possible, Ingrid has also been actively raising money to build a new building to house the Boys and Girls Club in the near future. She and the board of directors have nearly met their goal of $10.5 million. The building process was started in the spring with a tentative completion date of fall 2022. Ingrid and I have been married for 40 years, and I’m very proud of her accomplishments. She came from a small town in southern Aroostook County and moved to the Gardiner area in 1989. She was hired as a summer recreation coordinator for the city of Gardiner and started her mission with an L.L.Bean canvas bag with half a dozen playground balls. She progressed from that to owning a building and serving hundreds of children with childcare, sports programs, and before- and after-school programs. Ingrid is my hero and a hero and champion for children in the greater Gardiner area.
—Kerry Stanchfield, Gardiner

For a chance to be featured in our November/December issue or online, Click Here to submit a love letter of no more than 250 words about your favorite holiday tradition.

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