Former Aroostook potato farmers presented Distinguished Service Award

The Shaw family with Governor Paul LePage and Agriculture
Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. Left to right: Carson and Susan Nile
(daughter), Norma Shaw, Governor LePage, Bernard Shaw, Commissioner
Whitcomb, Sara Hardy (daughter), Ruth McIlroy (Bernard’s sister), and
Mike Hardy.
Courtesy of Maine Department of Agriculture
The Shaw family with Governor Paul LePage and Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. Left to right: Carson and Susan Nile (daughter), Norma Shaw, Governor LePage, Bernard Shaw, Commissioner Whitcomb, Sara Hardy (daughter), Ruth McIlroy (Bernard’s sister), and Mike Hardy.
Posted Jan. 11, 2012, at 4:38 p.m.
Bernard and Norma Shaw receive the 2012 Agriculture Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award from Gov. Paul LePage, as Commissioner Walt Whitcomb looks on.
Courtesy of Maine Department of Agriculture
Bernard and Norma Shaw receive the 2012 Agriculture Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award from Gov. Paul LePage, as Commissioner Walt Whitcomb looks on.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Former Aroostook County potato farmers Bernard and Norma Shaw have received the 2012 Agriculture Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award.

The award was presented to the Shaws on Tuesday by Agriculture Commissioner Walter Whitcomb at the 71st Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show, the three-day event held Jan. 10-12 at the Augusta Civic Center. Gov. Paul LePage also participated in the award presentation.

“I am very pleased to present this award to the Shaws, two of the most accomplished, yet humble, contributors to Maine’s agricultural community,” Whitcomb said. “Their years of service and ability to focus on the positive are something we all should emulate.”

Both natives of Limestone, the Shaws are in their early 80s, retired from farming and now living in Augusta, but still are active in volunteer efforts.

A press release from the Maine Department of Agriculture described the couple, who have been married 61 years, as personifying the traditional, hardworking Maine farm family. They not only ran a busy and successful farm while raising three children but also managed to extensively participate in local, state, and national organizations, according to the release.

“Notable in their volunteer efforts are their years of work in helping to run the Windsor Fair, and their weekly work with the Augusta Food Bank, helping to expand its service from 20 families per month in the 1980s, to a current level of about 900,” the release states.

Bernard Shaw served as agriculture commissioner from 1988 to 1996. He also held positions with numerous agricultural organizations, including the Maine Potato Council, Maine Potato Board, Aroostook County Extension Service, National Potato Promotion Board and the Agricultural Bargaining Council and represented Maine for many years at The Big E — the Eastern States Exposition. At the state level, he served for eight years on the Land for Maine’s Future Board and was director of the Finance Authority of Maine. At the local level, Bernard Shaw was a member of the Limestone school and planning boards.

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