The perfect fit between an employer and an employee creates a new kind relationship that transcends mere business and enters the realm of family. Such instances happen when an individual’s vocation is synonymous with being sincerely engaged in their passion. On Thursday, May 10th, the faculty and staff of Washington County Community College gathered to celebrate the milestones of their colleagues at the institution’s annual Employee Appreciation Day.
President Joe Cassidy opened the proceedings by acknowledging the assembled group’s successful work of guiding the student body – in terms of teaching them knowledge and skills, as well as in character. “I don’t remember a nicer group of students… You’ve helped them grow into better people.”
President Cassidy then presented a commemorative proclamation brought by Senator Joyce Maker in support of Rhonda French. Last year, French was named as a recipient of WLBZ2’s 2 Those Who Care award for her faithful service to the Washington County community, and the state legislature followed suit in celebrating her efforts with a formal proclamation.
Several employees reached the 5-year milestone this year, beginning with Floyd “Abe” Holmes. Holmes was described by supervisor Dick Ramsey as a “fun, loyal, and an easy guy to manage” and by President Cassidy as a “phenomenal person.” Small Engine Repair instructor Greg Johnson was next. Department Director Ron O’Brien described how Johnson’s students are going out and becoming very well-liked and successful throughout their field. President Cassidy added: “What an incredible boon to the college, to get, literally, the best in the business – and that’s not an exaggeration.” Early Education Instructor Linda Levesque has also been with the college for 5 years. Levesque was described by Department Director Cindy Moholland as being “known in the field and highly respected,” and each of those present – including President Cassidy – agreed good-naturedly that she was an “upgrade” to the former instructor (being President Cassidy himself). Per Moholland, Levesque has updated the curriculum and made many course-level improvements. In the Finance Department, Amanda Tirrell has demonstrated that she is “a quick learner, willing to help in any way possible,” according to supervisor Linda Fitzsimmons, who added that Tirrell is adept at assisting students to navigate the financial aid process.
Among the employees reaching their 10-year anniversary with the college was the multi-talented Dick Ramsey. Thanking him for his work as Manager of Facilities, President Cassidy said that he “approaches every day as a new challenge to be embraced.” English instructor Molly McDonald also reached 10 years. “She continues to be a positive force on campus despite being up to her eyeballs in grading papers all the time. Not most of the time, all of the time,” said Department Director Liz Sullivan. Heavy Equipment Maintenance Instructor Kevin Howland was next. Per Department Director Ron O’Brien: “He is a master of his trade, constantly striving for knowledge.” President Cassidy further praised Howland’s constant impression on students on the value of adopting a positive life approach.
Recognized for her 20 years of service to the college was Nickey Dubey. Department Director Moholland said that one of Dubey’s specialties is new program development, something she has put to use by creating the Medical Assisting, Education and phlebotomy programs. “She is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I know,” Moholland said.
Over the past 25 years, Desiree Thompson has developed into what President Cassidy describes as the “best finance director” in the Maine Community College System. “She keeps such a masterful hand on the rudder and keeps us going,” President Cassidy said.
With almost the longest ongoing commitment to the college of its active employees, Todd Lerke’s 40-year anniversary with WCCC was recognized with a commemorative paddle. President Cassidy said that Lerke had been a major influence on him in his youth and lauded his ability to inspire those who love working with their hands and working outdoors.
Two retiring employees were recognized to conclude this year’s event. History instructor Suzanne O’Connor was thanked for her 11 years with the college. Disabilities Support Specialist Dora Adams has retired from her work in TRIO. Adams thanked everybody in the room for their support of students with disabilities during her time at WCCC.