BANGOR, Maine — Though perhaps best known for the work she does in the nation’s capital, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was honored Thursday for contributions closer to home.
During a ceremony at the Bangor Civic Center, the Caribou native received the 2008 Distinguished Citizens Award from the Boy Scouts of America’s Katahdin Area Council as an audience of about 400 people looked on.
Collins and her family members are no strangers to Scouting, according to event organizers. Her parents, Pat and Don Collins of Caribou, were involved in Scouting and the senator is a former Girl Scout.
“Susan Collins and her family are the epitome of Scouting values: the commitment to family, community and the nation,” Steve Frost, the council’s volunteer president, said before Thursday’s event. “Senator Collins is one of those people who lives those values every day.
“As Susan continues her outstanding work in the United States Senate, it’s clear that she gained her values from her parents,” Frost said.
Peter Vigue, chairman of the Pittsfield-based Cianbro Cos. and recipient of the council’s 2002 Distinguished Citizen Award, agreed.
“Senator Collins embodies the values of Scouting as she meets her responsibilities to God and country,” he said before Thursday’s ceremony began.
“Leadership, courage and integrity are all qualities that the Boy Scouts hold in high regard, and which can be found in great measure within Susan Collins,” he said.
The Katahdin Area Council provides values-based programming to more than 9,000 Scouts and leaders in its service area, which comprises Penobscot, Waldo, Hancock, Piscataquis, Aroostook and Washington counties in northern and eastern Maine.
The annual award banquet is the Katahdin Area Council’s biggest fundraiser. The money it raises funds Scout programs, including leadership development training and summer camps such as Camp Roosevelt in Eddington.
Honorees are selected each year by a yearlong process in which a steering committee generates a short list of candidates and eventually votes the list down to one person who has shown outstanding service in his or her community.
As a recipient of the award, Collins joins an elite group that includes the likes of Husson College baseball coach John Winkin, Gov. John Baldacci, and the late businessman and philanthropist G. Peirce Webber, to name a few.