The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Virtual Awards Gala premiered on the Chamber’s YouTube channel Wednesday, March 31 at 7 p.m. The Virtual Awards Gala was an opportunity to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to our community in 2020. The event can still be viewed online at

The top award of the evening, the prestigious Community Person of the Year Award, was presented to Kerry Altiero, of Owls Head.

The Community Person of the Year is presented annually to an individual who through their numerous civic, charitable, and professional deeds has greatly enhanced the quality of life in Midcoast communities over many years.

Chef/owner Kerry Altiero opened Café Miranda in downtown Rockland in 1993 and has created a dining institution that attracts locals and visitors alike. Altiero is a well-known member of the community, not only for his culinary expertise but for his mentorship of employees, and his generosity. Most notably, Altiero has played a key role in the Cooking For Community program during the pandemic in partnership with Hannaford, and for his famous ‘Flock Party’ that raises thousands of dollars each year for the Knox County Homeless Coalition.

Congratulations to the following individuals, businesses and organizations that were celebrated as the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Year in Review Award Winners:

Beacon Award – Mt. Battie Star Team

This award recognizes a person, business, or organization that has attracted significant positive regional or national attention to the Penobscot Bay Region, resulting in a rise in local economic activity.

For more than 50 years, volunteers have been maintaining, installing, and lighting a star atop Mt. Battie in Camden to herald the Christmas holiday season. During the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, the Mt. Battie Star Lighters received permission from the Maine State Park Service to install and light the star every night for six weeks throughout the spring, providing a uniting symbol of hope for all to see.

Community Service Award – Liz Jenkins/AIO Food & Energy Assistance

This award recognizes a person, business, or organization whose activities have resulted in a significant community enhancement and/or positive contribution to the quality of life among local community members.

Liz Jenkins’ impact on the Area Interfaith Outreach (AIO) Food & Energy Assistance organization has been felt since she became a volunteer in 2015. In 2017, she became the board chair, and set a vision for a new, state-of-the-art facility in Rockland to help those in need in our region. Jenkins led the board and community through a successful $1.2 million capital campaign for the new facility, which opened on schedule in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Improvement Award – Mid-Coast School of Technology

This award recognizes a person, organization, or business that has made a major, tangible improvement to a property or program to benefit the general public.

In 2016, local voters approved a $25 million bond to fund construction of a new facility for the Mid-Coast School of Technology, and the new building opened to students in September 2019. In addition to being a significant upgrade for career and technical education in our region, the new facility has attracted expanded post-secondary opportunities through a partnership with Kennebec Valley Community College.

Small Business of the Year Award – Sidecountry Sports

This award honors a business of fewer than 25 employees that is making a positive contribution to the community and is recognized by peers as a leader in what they do. This business demonstrates a commitment to excellence and has been in business for at least five years.

Sidecountry Sports has been a fixture in downtown Rockland and at the Camden Snow Bowl for close to a decade. They are well known for superior sales and service for cyclists, skiers and snowboarders, and for their commitment to our communities, including a significant contribution to support cycling trails in Thomaston in partnership with Georges River Land Trust.

Once again, the Chamber presented Milestone Anniversary Awards to Maine-based businesses and organizations with local ties (or a local office of a company based outside Maine) celebrating anniversaries in 25-year increments. Honorees celebrating 25 years in 2020 included Camden Riverhouse Hotel; Camden Real Estate Co.; Claddagh Motel of Rockport; and Edward Jones Rockland office/Doug Curtis Jr. The Camden Area District Nursing Association was recognized for its 100-year anniversary in 2020. Bohndell Sails & Rigging of Rockport and the Monhegan House were each congratulated for reaching their 150-year milestone in 2020.

Several businesses provided leading sponsorship support for the Gala: Camden National Bank was the event’s Gold sponsor, while Eaton Peabody and LCI both signed on as Silver sponsors.

The Year in Review Awards were created by Magpie Creative of Warren, and the Community Person of the Year Award was created by The Foundry in West Rockport. Proforma Marketing Essentials of Camden produced the Milestone Anniversary Awards. Video productions were created by Hennessy Productions and John Viehman. The virtual event was produced by Northeast Event Design.

To learn more about the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, visit