BANGOR, Maine — A Bangor businessman who is perhaps as well known for public service as the tools and equipment his family’s business sells received the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce’s most prestigious award Thursday night during the organization’s annual awards dinner.
John Bragg received the Norbert X. Dowd Award in recognition of his contributions to local politics and nonprofit groups during a dinner and ceremony that drew an audience of about 750 people to the Bangor Civic Center.
Bragg, who recently retired as the fifth generation of his family to lead NH Bragg, which has done business in Bangor since 1954, accepted his award with humility and humor.
After opening his remarks with a threat of reading the first few chapters of a book about the history of his family’s business, Bragg spoke about why he felt it was important to become involved in his community — something he could not have down without the help of his wife, Theresa.
Public service “is in my blood,” he said, noting that his grandfather also served as Bangor mayor. “That’s just what we’ve done.”
“I believe that the way to have a healthy company is to have a healthy community,” he said, later adding, “This is a wonderful community to get involved in and work for. There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer your time.”
And should burnout set in, “Do something else, whether it’s health care or arts or politics or early childhood or the elderly or addressing the needs of the homeless — the needs are there and they are going to go on forever.”
Bragg’s record of public service includes serving as a Bangor city councilor and mayor, a Penobscot County commissioner, and a board member for organizations including The Acadia Hospital, Bangor Symphony Orchestra and Eastern Maine Development Corp.
He also has been a supporter of the United Way, American Folk Festival and the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.
Other award recipients honored Thursday night were:
• Habib Dagher, University of Maine — Catherine Lebowitz Award for Public Service
• Bangor Greendrinks — Fusion Leadership & Vision Award
• Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications — The Bion & Dorain Foster Entrepreneurship Award
• Bill Lucy and Peoples United Bank — Community Service Award
• Nelson Durgin — Arthur A. Comstock Professional Service Award
• Maine Discovery Museum — Nonprofit of the Year
• Cross Insurance — Business of the Year