Along with fisheries expert and former Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Robin Alden, the Mount Desert Islander, its owner and publisher, Alan Baker, and its editor, Earl Brechlin, were honored last Friday evening as recipients of the Maine Seacoast Mission’s Sunbeam Award.
Named after the Maine Seacoast Mission ship, Sunbeam, it is presented annually “to an individual who epitomizes the ideals of community service and has enriched the lives of the people of Maine through their work.”
Among past honorees from Mount Desert Island area are Ralph Stanley, Dennis Damon, Jack Russell, Cookie Horner, Curtis Blake, Marianne Barnicle, Joe Murphy, Islander columnist Jill Goldthwait and U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.
From its start some 16 years ago, the Islander has strived to be a common denominator for people of the MDI area. From birth announcements to obituaries, wedding photos to divorce news, politics to police beat, economic boom to economic bust, art, music, drama, scientific achievement and the environment, the entire tableau of life in Down East Maine has played out in these pages.
Our approach has always been that these are stories written about neighbors, by neighbors.
People of all persuasions, of all backgrounds gathering together, working for the common good, is what the Seacoast Mission has always been about. There is a sense of unity among its supporters, who celebrate a commonality of purpose. Those share values transcend the stereotypical labels of liberal or conservative, rich or poor, native or summer resident. What matters most is an abiding respect for those who dedicate their lives to improving the circumstances of the people of Down East Maine.
To be successful, a community newspaper should reflect those virtues. Over the years, the Islander has been successful not because of any one voice among its pages, but rather by the contributions of hundreds and thousands of voices. They are the voices of reporters, editors, photographers, columnists, page designers, ad reps, folks in our business office, press and mail rooms, and those who deliver our newspaper. Those voices also include our sources, our community leaders, our business community, our letter writers, our readers and our faithful advertisers.
The Islander is honored and humbled to serve the people and communities of the Mount Desert Island area and to have our work recognized by the Maine Seacoast Mission with its Sunbeam Award.