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Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce 2016 Citizen of the Year: Dave Wells

The Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year was selected by committee recently after receiving some wonderful nominations. However, none could match the following nomination submitted by Jack Frost:

Nearly a decade ago, Dave phased into retired from a distinguished career with FedEx. He relocated to Ellsworth with his wife Marian. Dave wasted no time in volunteering in ways that have had a significant impact on the quality of life for those in the Ellsworth area.

Dave was instrumental in building and sustaining the Everybody Eats program. Everybody Eats is a free community meal held every week at St. Dunstan’s Church on State Street. Everybody Eats provides for a healthy meal for the community in a pleasant, stress free environment. The program feeds those in need, and it also helps to foster a strong sense of community spirit. Those involved with the program explain that it is community spirit that keeps it running. Dave was a champion for the cause in its formative years. He had a critical part in ensuring the Everybody Eats program was on solid footing for long-term sustainability. He led the organization’s board and personally recruited dozens of others in the community to get involved in volunteering. Now, many years later, the program is sustainable and benefiting hundreds of our neighbors. Our community is better off because Everybody Eats makes difference for people in our region each and every week.

Dave has been a member of the Rotary Club of Ellsworth for several years. Upon joining the Club, he quickly was encouraged to take a leadership role, and stepped up to do so. When he served as the Club’s President, he developed several new philanthropic initiatives, including raising funds through a “Movember” contest which benefited the local hospital Urology Department, while also raising awareness in the community of the importance of routine medical health screenings for men. Dave created another unique fundraiser which benefited the WHCA ‘THAW Fund’. Over the past few years, hundreds of dollars have been raised through this initiative to support those who require fuel assistance to heat their homes.

Dave initiated an international mission project through Rotary. The project involved raising funds to purchase wheelchairs for those in need in Panama. The mission trip was the first of its kind for the Club and it was a great success. Over 100 wheelchairs were purchased and over a dozen area Rotarians from the Ellsworth and Bar Harbor Clubs traveled to Panama to deliver these. One unexpected result of the mission was the development of a deeper understanding of the culture and poverty level faced by so many people in the Central American country. It is no surprise that other local Rotary members have stepped forward to help assist in supporting another mission trip which will take place in Belize from March 1 to March 8, 2016. Once again, Dave was instrumental in providing quiet leadership that brings people together to accomplish what many would not dream possible.

Dave spent several years volunteering with Maine Coast Memorial Hospital. He never held back from rolling up his sleeves and complete projects others were not eager to take on. A good example of this was his drive to spruce up the Hospital’s Hurley House. Dave spent hours scraping paint and applying primer, before others in the community got involved to help finish the project. Also in support of the Hospital, Dave has served on the board of Maine Coast Healthcare Foundation, and he currently serves on the Hospital’s Community Council.

Dave is in his sixth term as the Senior Warden at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Ellsworth. The Senior Warden is the layperson responsible for the congregation. You can often find Dave at the Church on State Street serving as chief lawn mower, snow scooper, painter and cleaner. Whatever is needed, Dave takes the lead and ensures the Church is welcoming and safe for parishioners.

Dave would never seek out recognition for his service. This is what makes him a worthy nominee. Those who spend time volunteering with Dave know his commitment is deep and selfless. He has done a great deal to make our region a better place, and has done so with an engaging spirit that has encouraged many others to get involved and make a difference in our area and beyond.

The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize Dave Wells as its Citizen of the Year, 2016. David will be honored at the Annual Meeting on May 19 at Big Cats Catering and Event Center.

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