LINCOLN, Maine — The Clay family’s decades of public service to the town and state were recognized with honors this week for family patriarch Hervey Clay and his son Town Council Chairman Steve Clay.
Hervey Clay was presented the 2010 Ethel N. Kelley Memorial Award at the 2010 Maine Municipal Association convention in Augusta on Tuesday for his more than 40 years of service to the town and state.
“He has never been recognized for all that he has done for the town of Lincoln,” said Town Manager Lisa Goodwin, who nominated Clay for the award. “According to their criteria for the award, he more than fits the qualifications. It was a great way for us to honor him.”
Besides serving as a member of Lincoln’s Call Fire Department since 1968 as a firefighter, captain and, since 1988, as deputy chief, Hervey Clay, a director at Clay Funeral Home, has served as a subregistrar for the town clerk and past member of the town cemetery and budget committees and the planning board, Goodwin said.
The Lincoln Congregational Men’s Club and the boards of directors of the Lincoln Federal Credit Union and Penobscot Valley Hospital are among the other civic organizations he has served. He also has served on the board of directors of the state funeral directors association and on the state’s funeral directors oversight committee, serving now as its complaint officer, Steve Clay said.
The Kelley award is the most prestigious offered by the association of municipal government officials. Annually one individual who has shown dedication to the cause of good local government receives it. Kelley served the Maine Municipal Association for 45 years from its founding in 1936 until her death in 1981. She has been described as the cement that held the organization together during World War II, Goodwin said in a statement.
Hervey Clay could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Steve Clay received an honorary plaque and gavel during a council meeting on Monday in recognition of his 12 years of service to Lincoln as a council member. He was elected in 1998 and has served as chairman since 2005. He opted not to run for re-election this year.
In both cases, Goodwin contrived to make the awards surprises to their recipients. She achieved more success with Hervey than with his son, Steve Clay said.
“We did pull off the surprise with my father, though he was getting a little suspicious because of all the people that were there,” Steve Clay said. “We had told him that I was receiving an award and that people were there for me.”
Hervey Clay didn’t quite buy that.
“He said he would see as many people there for me, but they would be different people,” Steve Clay said. “The guy who was introducing him [during the ceremony] came up to my father before the award and said, ‘I am going to introduce you,’ and my father said, ‘Introduce me for what?’”
Goodwin attempted to smuggle the plaque and gavel into the council meeting in a large envelope at the bottom of a host of items she carried, but Steve Clay said he recognized it. He said he tapped on it at one point and said, “You know, we can do this next month.
“She looked at me,” Clay recalled, “and said, ‘Oh, shut up!’”
Clay said he especially cherished the gavel because as council chairman, he took pride in how little he used it to quiet speakers at meetings.
“I like to make sure that people feel as if they are being heard,” Clay said. “Sometimes it doesn’t exactly follow ‘Roberts Rules of Order,’ but at the same time people need to feel as if they are heard. I know that I probably let them go on too long at some points, but at other points I will stop it, especially if it is getting repetitive.”
Clay’s younger brother, Samuel, serves on the council, and his sister Vicki is an assignment editor in the news department at WABI in Bangor. His other sister, Katie, like Steve, Hervey and Samuel, works as a funeral director at the funeral home in Lincoln.