May 25, 2018
Living Latest News | Poll Questions | Farm Bill | Memorial Day | Pigs Buried

Local McDonald’s owner receives Heart of Gold award

Bridget Brown | BDN
Bridget Brown | BDN
McDonald’s Owner-Operator Gary L. Eckmann of Hampden (seen in August 2007) recently was honored when the Portland Ronald McDonald House presented him the prestigious Heart of Gold award.

McDonald’s Owner-Operator Gary L. Eckmann of Hampden recently was honored when the Portland Ronald McDonald House presented him the prestigious Heart of Gold award.

Eckmann was recognized for more than 20 years’ service to the Maine Ronald McDonald Houses during the 19th annual Portland Ronald McDonald House Golf Tournament on June 27.

As a leading member of the Maine McDonald’s Owner/Operator Association, Eckmann supported the efforts of Stand by ME to obtain a license to build and operate the Ronald McDonald House in Portland in the early 1990s.

As a member of the Bangor Ronald McDonald House board of directors, he was influential in fostering the close relationship between the two houses that has endured over the years and continues today.

As the longtime president of the board of trustees for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine and eastern New Hampshire, he has encouraged that organization’s resources to be shared when the Portland house needed it the most.

“It is with profound gratitude and appreciation that we present Gary Eckmann with our Heart of Gold,” stated Robin Chibroski, executive director of the Portland Ronald McDonald House.

“This award is given in highest honor and recognition for his tireless efforts and extraordinary service, dedication and compassion given to the House that Love Built.

“We thank him for all he has done and continues to do for the Ronald McDonald House — both in Bangor and Portland — and for the thousands of grateful families it serves.”


Kaitlin Smith, a 21-year-old who will enter her junior year at the University of Maine this fall, has been blessed with a wonderful family and would do anything for them. She will serve as an activist for her father and thousands of other Mainers living with Alzheimer’s disease by serving as the honorary chairwoman of the Bangor Walk to End Alzheimer’s which begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at Bass Park. This is the 15th year the walk has been held in Bangor, which is one of 13 walks in Maine this year.

“I believe Alzheimer’s disease is one that makes people feel hopeless and helpless,” Kaitlin said.

“Fundraising and being an advocate is my way of fighting back at the disease for those who no longer have the strength to fight back.

“I fight back for my mother who is a caregiver, my father who has the disease and other families. I also want people to know the strength that fundraising can give them.

“It unites people who are going through a similar experience and fills them with hope and peace. I am very passionate about this and will never give up on my quest to find a cure.”

The public is welcome to participate in the Bangor Walk to End Alzheimer’s by forming a walking team, being an individual walker, being a financial sponsor, helping with registration on the day of the walk or cheering the walkers on the course.

For more information, including how to register for the Bangor Walk or a walk in your area, visit go to and click on Maine.


On June 20, Meg Callaway, development director at Community Care, and young artist Skylar Mitchell presented an appreciation plaque to Patricia Freiwald, wealth management specialist at Bangor Savings Bank.

Community Care, which is based in Bangor, presented the plaque to Bangor Savings Bank in appreciation for being nominated in the Greater Bangor category of the bank’s 2011 Community Matters More contest. Skylar provided the artwork featured on the plaque.

Community Care’s mission is to provide quality, community-based services that are timely and effective in promoting the health, well-being and independence of individuals and families.


Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like