FORT KENT, Maine — When the St. John and Fish rivers flowed over their banks during record flooding a year ago, Town Manager Don Guimond was knocking on doors, encouraging those in the flood’s path to evacuate.
That, in addition to other steps taken by Guimond, earned the town’s top administrator the Small Business Administration Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official.
The award was presented Tuesday in Washington, D.C., during an SBA luncheon.
“Once the town was out of danger, Guimond gave disaster survivors timely information about recovery resources [by] serving as the link between the townspeople and agencies providing assistance,” according to a statement released by the SBA Tuesday.
The Phoenix award recognizes the efforts of individuals who display tremendous courage and resourcefulness in the midst of disasters.
“I told Don there was no need for him to be humble,” Louis Moreau, chair of the Fort Kent Town Council, said Tuesday. “This award is well deserved.”
Moreau said Guimond’s efforts during the flood and in the year after have been important for the town.
“When the flood was happening, Don gave residents a sense that someone was in charge and that helped give a sense of security,” Moreau said. “Since then, he’s coordinated most of the activity as far as recovery applications go.”
In addition to Guimond, two Massachusetts business owners who not only rebuilt but expanded their business after a flood and a mother of four from Indiana who recruited 70 volunteers to set up disaster relief centers also were recognized by the SBA during Tuesday’s luncheon.
Since 1998, the SBA has presented Phoenix Awards to business owners, public officials and volunteers who displayed selflessness, ingenuity and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster, while contributing to the rebuilding of their communities.
Guimond was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to accept the award and unavailable for comment.