Rockport man honored as 'Hometown Hero' for volunteer efforts

Jan 16, 2018
Rockport resident Juan Alcala, left, and Modern Woodmen representative C. Dennis Crockett, right, present a $100 donation to the Knox County Homeless Coalition with Kendall Espinoza.

Rockport — Rockport resident Juan Alcala has been honored as a Hometown Hero by Illinois-based Modern Woodmen of America.

In a Jan. 16 press release, the organization profiled Alcala: Community service and volunteering to benefit others is a passion that makes Juan Alcala tick. His spare time is used to enrich the lives of others, especially Midcoast youth. Much of his "spare" time is centered around the basketball court, where the 46-year-old volunteers to officiate at the Mitchell/Stinson Memorial Games, which raises money for college scholarships, the Taylor Tip-Off event, which raises money for young victims of domestic violence, the Midcoast Senior High School Basketball Showcase, which raises money for area school athletic departments, as well as countless youth hoop tournaments.

As president of a youth basketball organization, Five Town Basketball, Alcala volunteers to coach and mentor school-aged children, as well as coordinate food drives through the organization. His volunteer efforts do not stop, of course, on the court, but extend through his work in many other areas of the community. He is a mentor with the Restorative Justice Program out of Waldo County and serves on the board of directors with the Mid Coast Recovery Coalition.

As a Restorative Justice mentor, Alcala, again in his “spare time,” mentors juveniles, minors or adults who have or are currently experiencing life’s challenges and are involved in the judicial system. Being a mentor involves building a relationship and trust with a person he has never met, becoming friends and working together to fulfill community and legal requirements, as well as working on repair agreements with affected parties.

As a board member of the Mid Coast Recovery Coalition, Alcala is part of a team working to improve treatment and prevention of drug addiction and to reduce its consequences in the Midcoast. Currently, the MCRC offers assistance such as Helping Families Succeed, Helping Teenagers Succeed and Helping People in Recovery Succeed, to name a few. Also, MCRC is in the process of acquiring safe and secure sober housing in Rockland.

And if that weren't enough, In September 2017, Alcala and friend Nathaniel Bernier traveled to Florida to aid in Hurricane Irma relief. The pair worked pro bono, specializing in tree removal and providing much-needed donations to the Homeless Coalition and St. Francis House of St. John’s County. The friends' efforts did not go unnoticed, as they were contacted by the mayor of St. Augustine, Nancy Shaver. She invited them to her residence, where she greeted the pair with a hug and a smile. She personally thanked them for helping her people in a time of unprecedented need. After spending about 30 minutes with her, they were sent off with a hug and of course, a selfie.

When Alcala returned to Maine, he contacted the Knox County Homeless Coalition and inquired how he could be of help. On one occasion he provided them with needed clothing items, and on a specific Wish List Wednesday request, the group was asking for someone to donate a pair of basketball shoes and socks for a resident, and Alcala, as he does unselfishly and consistently wherever he sees need in the community, delivered a new pair of Under Armour sneakers and a pack of athletic socks.

The $100 Juan received from the Hometown Hero Award was donated to the Knox County Homeless Coalition.

The release concluded, "Modern Woodmen’s Fraternal Financial “Hometown Hero” program is about fraternalism -- giving back and helping out in the community. Alcala was named the Midcoast chapter's Hometown Hero for 2017 for all that he does to help others."

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