ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Acadia officials presented awards to employees and volunteers for exceptional service to the park during the recent annual awards ceremony, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to publicly recognize those who exhibited innovation, resilience and positive attitudes,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “We host this award ceremony to celebrate everyone who helped make this park welcoming to all people during this exceptional season.”
Michelle Bierman, manager of the park’s fee program, received the 2020 George B. Dorr Award – also known as the Permanent Employee of the Year Award. She was chosen for her “leadership though many unanticipated budgetary, staffing and operational challenges,” her award citation read.
Schneider said Bierman manages “a really complicated program, which was more complicated because of COVID-19.
“Michelle and her team are going to play a critical role in the timed reservation [system] pilot, which is an additional heavy lift in an already challenging year.”
The 2020 Acadia Team Award, which recognizes groups of employees who work together to improve the park, went to the park’s custodial staff.
“I would like to say you have all done things by the book this summer, but the fact is, there isn’t a book,” Deputy Superintendent Mike Madell said in presenting the award to the custodial staff.
“You guys wrote the book as far as keeping the park clean and helping to keep us healthy through all this.”
Schneider told the custodial staff, “You guys have been like the MVPs this summer, having to deal with some of the hardest jobs in the park. It’s really a testament to how well you’ve done your work safely that we haven’t had any COVID cases among our staff here in the park.”
The Superintendent’s Special Recognition Award was presented to Ranger Aaron Zavesky for his role in assisting and likely saving the lives of two visitors this summer. One lost consciousness and stopped breathing while biking in the park. The other experienced severe emotional distress.
Kate Petrie, education coordinator and supervisory park ranger, received the 2020 Safety Award.
The “Ace” Savage Award, given to a seasonal employee who demonstrates excellence, went to public safety dispatcher Emma Millard.
Champlain Awards for volunteerism were presented to Ray and Mary Ann Schaefer and Randy Ewin.
Billy Helprin, executive director of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary, received the Acadia Partners Award.
At the end of the awards ceremony, awards committee member Alexa Pezzano read a statement “on behalf of the entire staff” recognizing the efforts of Acadia’s leadership team. She said the park’s leaders were responsible for “making decisions that would ensure the safety of our staff, our community and our visitors during a global pandemic.”
“You had no playbook or previous experiences to reference,” the statement said of the park’s leadership team. “The events of this year have been unprecedented, yet you rose to the challenge and empowered us to do so as well.”