REM Award Honorees (2005) — Faye and Jim Nicholson (Special Award)

Jim and Faye Nicholson, wearing their awards at the post-ceremony reception. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Jim and Faye Nicholson, wearing their awards at the post-ceremony reception. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Tonight we are gathered to honor our community’s volunteers and we have a very special award tonight for two exceptionally dedicated volunteers. For more than ten years, Faye and Jim Nicholson have lead the effort in identifying community needs and bringing volunteers together to support the REM’s ten working teams that were identified at the Community Catalyst in 1996. When Faye and Jim asked the community to come to his office and share their ideas about its needs, we came and Faye recorded their comments. This led to two hundred and fifty community members spending three days in this Opera House, defining needs and creating teams in the following areas:

  1. Develop a Vibrant Economy
  2. Excel in Education
  3. Protect Human Potential
  4. Promote Arts & Entertainment
  5. Beautify the Environment
  6. Empower Young People
  7. Build Community
  8. Expand Fitness & Recreation

REM was born out of people’s desire to connect and to create a future that reflects their wants, needs, and creativity. REM leaders work to search for new ways to provide opportunities for the diversity of the community to work together. This involves:

  • Building Consensus
  • Expanding Teamwork Skills
  • Valuing “Doers” and “Dreamers”
  • Learning How to Help Both Work Together Well
  • Learning How to Bridge the Gap Between the Vision and the Reality

Faye and Jim exemplify these values and have daily provided REM the backbone to make these values a reality. From welcoming everyone that comes to the REM office, to building a board, to cooking large pots of spaghetti, to opening their home for the annual dinner in the pool party, Faye and Jim make community volunteerism their life.

The first REM Award was presented in 1996. REM’s Arts and Entertainment Team conceived it as a regional award to be given to a person who exemplified the spirit of building community. In the first REM award only one person was selected. But there are so many that commit to this community that it has evolved so that the REM partners have the opportunity to honor their volunteers.

The award would be given to someone who had consistently contributed to the community or their organization through leadership, volunteerism, optimism, and kindness of spirit. This last quality would distinguish the REM Award more than anything else. Many people offer their time and talents to help others, but only a few, special individuals also emit a steady beacon of friendliness and compassion that warms everyone they touch. Such a person was best described as having “a good heart.”

When we think of Faye and her joy of sharing her life with her community, we can affirm that she has, not only a “a good heart,” but a heart that is dedicated to her husband, her community, and the volunteers that come to make things happen in the Greater Waterville Area. Faye is like an Angel come to earth to guide us mere humans in accomplishment of more than we might have thought we could do. She works from unconditional love, is non-judgmental, does not intimidate, and steps back to let others take credit for their own efforts. She freely gives of her tireless energy to help others help our community. She and Jim set the standard for unselfish dedication to improving the world we live in.

Faye is our most generous volunteer, having put in endless hours on a daily, weekly, monthly basis for many years with no compensation except to see bit by bit and chunk by chunk pieces of her dreams and those of others to fall into place. REM doesn’t want to do everything. REM is a catalyst. It makes REM feel proud when a new organization is formed with a life of its own to implement community dreams. I don’t know how many times this may have happened. It is not necessary for REM to keep track of that.

People come to REM finding encouragement, advice, ways to link with others who may share their dreams, and be appreciated. It is a place where people who want to contribute to their community can be linked with organizations that need volunteers. It is Faye Nicholson that holds the key to bringing all of this together through her love of people, community, and REM.

Jim Nicholson works behind the scenes of REM, as a board member and its treasurer, on the financial development team, cooking delicious dishes for REM events, and filling in wherever needed. On a day-to-day basis Jim supports REM and also commits his time to volunteer with many other organizations in support of his this region. You find Jim at the table of many local nonprofits, including Delta Ambulance, KVCOG, Waterville Development Corporation, and Inland Hospital. He recently received the East Coast Regional Small Business Association Businessman of the Year award and has been the longstanding Treasurer for the Republication Party in the State of Maine. He had been instrumental in starting the Waterville Development Corporation, a long term member of the Revolving Loan Fund committee for KVCOG, assisted KVCOG in getting its nonprofit status, and we are certain has done, much, much more than we can know.

Jim is an exemplary communicator and facilitator, working to bring disparate groups together for the betterment of our local and statewide community and economy. Since we consider Faye an Angel come to earth, Jim is the Saint behind the Angel.

The greater Waterville community is far better off because of the very positive attitude brought into it by Faye and Jim Nicholson and the people that they have brought to REM. Tonight we would like to present you with an acknowledgement of the ten years of dedication to REM and your longstanding commitment to your community.

The preceding tribute is adapted from remarks offered by Elery Keene and Sally Conary in presenting the awards to the Nicholsons. Elery Keene, retired executive director of the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG) and member of REM’s board, lauded Faye, while Sally Conary, interim president of Inland Hospital, spoke about Jim.

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