Gov. Janet T. Mills and Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, celebrated 306 volunteers who have served communities across the state during a year overshadowed by the ongoing pandemic.

Luc Nya, of Saco, was named 2021 Maine Volunteer of the Year during the 35th annual Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism recognition ceremony, held virtually on Monday, June 22.

“I am greatly honored to have been selected as the Governor’s Volunteer of the Year,” said Nya. “To all the volunteers out there, I say keep up the good work, and for those who are still considering it, look around you for the opportunities to make a difference abound.”

Nya, honored for his service as the volunteer chair of the University of Southern Maine Board of Visitors, helps New American students navigate the barriers faced at the beginning of their respective higher education journeys. Nya is one of six individuals or teams to receive a competitive award.

The 204 adults and 77 youth who have been named to the 2021 Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor were also recognized during the ceremony. In total, these individuals contributed 185,258 volunteer hours to communities around the state. Adult recipients were recognized in the June 29 edition of the Bangor Daily News. Volunteer Maine does not publish the Youth Roll of Honor due to privacy concerns.

“Every year the Governor’s Service Awards recognize those who exemplify the spirit and service of our state,” stated Mills.  “I can think of no one more fitting to receive these awards than you folks. On behalf of the 1.3 million people of the great State of Maine, I thank you.”

U.S. Senator Susan Collins also shared her appreciation during the virtual ceremony.

“The spirit of volunteerism is one of our state’s greatest strengths,” shared Collins. “This event celebrates the excellent work of Maine’s volunteer community which has been especially important during the pandemic. Their efforts are truly commendable and make life better for all of us.”

Volunteer Steve Murphy spoke on behalf of the Southern Maine Agency on Aging Vaccine Volunteer Assistance Team, the 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Team, and helped to illustrate the true impact volunteers have on the lives of others.

“This was probably the most meaningful experience I’ve had as a volunteer anywhere,” said Murphy. “One of my lasting impressions was the emotional intensity of people’s reactions to my phone calls. Some folks sort of gasped with surprise and relief when they learned they can get an appointment … a few choke back tears.”

A full list of competitive award winners can be found below. To learn more about each award winner, including photos and remarks from nominators, visit the following page on the Volunteer Maine website: https://www.volunteermaine.gov/events-awards/governors-service-volunteerism-awards/2021-competitive

Use the following link to view the full 2021 Maine Adult Volunteer Roll of Honor: https://www.volunteermaine.gov/events-awards/governors-service-volunteerism-awards/2021-ROH

To watch a replay of the ceremony, use the following link to view on the Volunteer Maine YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob8RabvTBL8

Competitive category award winners:

-Volunteer of the Year: Luc Nya, of Saco (Chair of the Board of Visitors at University of Southern Maine)

-Young Maine Volunteer of the Year, Shawn Jiminez, of West Gardiner (Gardiner Area High School Civil Right Team and Interact Club)

-Outstanding Volunteer Team: The Vaccine Volunteer Assistance Team (Southern Maine Area Agency on Aging, of Biddeford)

-Outstanding National Service Volunteer: Clara McCool, of Portland (AmeriCorps Resilience

Corps/Greater Portland Council of Governments)

-Excellence in Youth Service Development: RayeAnne DeSoto (MSAD 11/Gardiner Area High School)

-Excellence in Volunteer Administration: Delilah Poupore, of Biddeford (Heart of Biddeford).