Androscoggin Valley Chamber president and husband receive lifetime achievement award
SHELBURNE - Many eyes were on Joanne Roy, president of the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce, on Friday in the Town & Country Resort's Shelburne Room, as the chamber's vice-president, Mark Belanger, ran through the list of accomplishments of the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.
Roy, standing on the stage next to keynote speaker Gov. Maggie Hassan, was watching a local businessman sitting at one of the front tables, under the mistaken impression he would be surprised with the award.
It was a successful rouse on the part of the chamber directors. When Roy realized she'd been tricked, her wide smile got considerably wider.
The award was presented to Roy and her husband, Peter, for the Roy family's dedication to the community, and for their perseverance to rebuild after a fire destroyed their business, the Northland Restaurant & Dairy Bar, in 2003.
A Berlin landmark for more than 50 years, Northland, located on Route 16 north of downtown Berlin, is a Certified Best of New Hampshire Grand business, known for its fruit and berry pies, fried seafood and friendly service.
The Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting and dinner was attended by an overflow crowd of 260 community leaders and business people. The evening was short on official business - the slate of chamber directors was approved - and long on networking. The socializing impressed speaker Scott Spradling of the Spradling Group, who incorporated remarks on the strong sense of community evident in the room into his marketing presentation.
Hassan spoke for about 20 minutes, noting the "tough fiscally responsible choices" made in the state biennium budget she recently presented. She noted that she has visited Burgess BioPower, Littleton Coin, and Gorham Paper & Tissue, and business officials tell her they need more workers with the right skills.
The governor got applause when she talked about the proposed increases in funds for the university system, and for adequate funding for the state education grants, but got the loudest applause of the evening when she spoke of the need to restore New Hampshire's mental health system.
Also honored at the meeting were two men who brought new events to the region.
Patrick MacQueen, Berlin city manager, was honored with the newly instituted BoomPier Award as the father of RiverFire. For more than a decade, MacQueen and others have boated out to the boom piers in the middle of the Androscoggin River in late fall, stacked wooden pallets on the rocky outcrops and returned in the evening to light the fires.
Boom Pier recipient Walter Nadeau was honored for the Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride, held in September 2012 to celebrate the centennial of the founding of the Maynesboro Stud by William Robinson Brown, an Arabian horse breeder and member of the Brown Company family.