Bob Hasch receives YMCA’s Character Development Award

Police chief receives honor for efforts combating region’s opiate crisis
Posted:  Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 4:00pm

Boothbay Harbor Police Chief Bob Hasch thought he was presenting the Boothbay Region YMCA’s Character Development Award April 11, but instead he received it. Hasch was lured to the  YMCA annual award ceremony thinking he was presenting the award to Addiction Outreach Specialist Holly Stover.

But when it came time to present the Y’s most prestigious award, it was Stover extolling the virtues of Hasch’s efforts in combating the local opiate addiction problem. The award is given to a person who exemplifies leadership and caring for the most vulnerable in the community.

“In our community, the award goes to a person with vision who takes the time and effort keeping people safe and secure. No one is more deserving of this award than Bob Hasch,” Stover said. The chief was credited with taking a different approach to the region’s drug problem when he began 13 years ago. Stover described his approach as unique as he communicated with addicts and their families to find a better solution to the problem than incarceration.

“There is a tremendous opiate crisis in our community and years ago he started talking to people because arrests and jail are not the answers,” Stover said. “Treatment is the answer and he raised money to hire me as a partner in addressing this crisis, which has started to have some real success. So tonight, we acknowledge that accomplishment. Congratulations, Bob!”

Hasch credited the team he assembled, including his police department, the Y and Stover for making a real difference in fighting the opiate crisis.

“We’ve had some long conversations about this with folks and the community has been very receptive of our efforts. I’m very appreciative of that. This is a one-of-a-kind community,” Hasch said.

The ceremony also included recognizing volunteers and staff for their contributions during the past year. Facilities Director Rose Mooney presented Bill Joyce with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Mooney described Joyce as a key volunteer in the Y’s natural playground project last year.

“Bill Joyce jumped in feet first volunteering his time, effort and materials in creating a playground for the Montessori School and child enrichment center. He donated hundreds of hours, plants, consulting services, birdhouses and sunflowers picked from his own garden,” Mooney said. “He was the first to pick up a shovel and begin transforming our simple playground into a welcoming natural learning environment fostering creativity, curiosity and adventurous nature in all our children. We are all grateful for his tireless efforts and endless support.”

Director of Development Lisa Van Dyk recognized Alison Evans and Chris Fitz and their daughter Shea for their work as last year’s Annual Fund chairmen. Van Dyk said the family was the ideal choice because it takes part in so many Y activities, from tennis to swimming, Camp Knickerbocker, art and the Turkey Trot.

“Last summer Alison used the term common ground about the Y, which stuck with me and rings true,” Van Dyk said. “The Y is a place for everybody regardless of your ability, background, age or income. It’s truly a common ground.”

Director of Arts and Humanities Emily Mirabile presented Boothbay Region High School junior Jackie McLoon with the Youth of the Year Award. Mirabile described McLoon as an enthusiastic participant and talented leader integral  to Y Arts, not only as a performer, but as a backstage volunteer in youth productions, summer music and theatre camp counselor, and student competition team director.

“Her passion for helping peers and campers represents the Y’s core values of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring. At Camp Knickerbocker, she inspired other staff with her upbeat, positive energy. She was hired to teach music, but at the day’s end, she was seen tending to all the campers’ needs,” Mirabile said.

Healthy Living Coordinator Abby Jones presented the Program Service Award to Paul and Louise Cowan. Jones described the couple as leading by example and as positive, supportive participants. The Cowans faithfully show up at exercise classes either ready to participate or teach, according to Jones.

“They are great volunteers who also help out at the annual Rowgatta by providing safety by riding their boat near the course,” Jones said.

Incoming board president Dr. Mary Neal concluded the ceremony by thanking all the volunteers and staff for making the past year a successful one. She compared the local YMCA as being a big extended family.

“The Y wouldn’t be here without you,” she said. “Your continued support and participation is needed. If you want a program let us know and we’ll try to provide it. That’s what a family does.”

Dr. Neal replaces Rick Elder, who served two three-year terms and is not eligible for another consecutive term.