BANGOR, Maine — As the Queen City continues to celebrate its 175th anniversary this year, Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer helped on Sunday to celebrate some of the people who have made the city what it is.
Palmer and members of a city committee handed out 34 Paul Bunyan Citizenship Awards on Sunday afternoon to residents who have had an effect on the community in a variety of beneficial ways, small and large, loud and quiet.
The award is new this year as a way to continue the city’s anniversary, Palmer said during the ceremony at the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department building, and the choice of 34 winners was meant to represent 1834, the year Bangor was incorporated into a city.
“We wanted to recognize people in our community who really are the connectors that hold our community together,” Palmer said.
“They don’t always get the recognition they need,” he added.
There were just two criteria for award winners: They had to be Bangor residents, and they could not be current or former elected officials.
Around 300 people were considered for the award, and winners came from all walks of life. There were artists and coaches, business owners and the retired, those who work to raise funds for organizations, and others known for their donations of time and money.
Honorees who were Bangor natives shared their reminiscences of the Queen City, and those “from away” talked about why they have come to love their adopted city.
“Bangor is a wonderful place,” said winner Joan Woodcock Nestler, a New York native who moved to Bangor in 1951. “It was surburbia that I grew up in. In Bangor, there are opportunities to give and be given to, and I’m very grateful that [husband, the late Dr. John Woodcock] brought me here.”
For Bob Ziegelaar, the Bunyan honor was the second award ceremony in which he participated Sunday. The Telford Group, an aviation company of which he is president, was recognized Sunday morning for the company’s assistance with a Maine Army National Guard group.“I can’t imagine living in a community and not being involved in it, and this is a great one,” said Ziegelaar, a former director of Bangor International Airport, during a break from the ceremony.
Paul Bunyan Citizenship Award winners
Bernard “Doc” Mann
Joan Woodcock Nestler
Sandra Blake Leonard
Roxanne and Galen Saucier
Dixielea and Charlie Thayer
LeeAnne and Bruce Mallonee
Wilma and Merrill “Pappy” Bradford
Vicky and David Vroom
Renee and Leonard Minsky
Catherine and Clif Eames
Ron St. Pierre, on behalf of Mansfield Stadium
Sue-Ann and Bill Buckley