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Chamber of Commerce celebrates resilience at annual dinner

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The St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner on June 25, filling a reception hall at the Lakeview Restaurant in St. Agatha to celebrate the accomplishments of the year.

MADAWASKA, Maine – The St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner on June 25, filling a reception hall at the Lakeview Restaurant in St. Agatha to celebrate the accomplishments of the year.

For many businesses in the Valley, including the Chamber itself, 2020 has been a difficult year. At Friday night’s event, speakers celebrated the community’s resilience not only to survive, but also to rise up and meet the needs of their neighbors.

“Perhaps it was the stubbornness of the Acadians that we have here, but it worked,” said Chamber President Gail Beaupré.

The keynote speaker for the event was Greg Letourneau, Reed & Reed’s superintendent for the international bridge project. The event also featured a rewards presentation for company of the year: Paradis Shop ‘n Save, and for exceptional community service: Paula Gendreau.

Letourneau gave an overview of the history of Reed & Reed, an overview of what will come on the bridge project and an update on the current progress of the work. Now, alongside Ed Pelletier et Fils, the company has completed construction of the access road and will soon undertake serious work in the river.

The same progress has been made across the border, where Greenfield Construction of New Brunswick is building the Canadian abutment.

At the awards ceremony, the group applauded the special efforts of Madawaska grocery store manager Brian Dubois and his staff to accommodate restrictions and fears during the pandemic.

“Our service chefs were on the phone all day getting meat and cleaning supplies, which Hannaford had none of that,” Dubois said. “If you walked into a Hannaford store… they wouldn’t have meat.” Well, our crates of meat were full. We fed everyone.

Next, Gendreau, who is also a member of the House Board of Directors, received a standing ovation for his efforts to give back to the community through his work at Ridgewood Estates and the Beautification Committee.

“I couldn’t do what I do without my Ridgewood family… and my children, bless their souls,” said Gendreau. “They are still there. “

MADAWASKA, Maine – June 25, 2021 – Those in attendance for the St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner listen to Reed & Reed Superintendent Greg Letourneau present the progress of the international bridge project. (Hannah Catlin | St. John Valley Times)

MADAWASKA, Maine – June 25, 2021 – Director Sharon Boucher addresses attendees of the St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce annual dinner. (Hannah Catlin | St. John Valley Times)