Scarborough resident honored by regional chamber of commerce

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SCARBOROUGH — A man familiar in Scarborough for his volunteer work was recently honored for his service by the Portland Regional Chamber.

The organization presented lifelong resident  Art Dillon with its 2009 Volunteer of the Year award at the chamber’s 155th annual meeting.

Though surprised by the honor, Dillon gave a gracious acceptance speech in front of about 550 people at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, and even thought to plug next summer’s Concerts in the Park series, Scarborough Community Chamber President Michelle Raber said Wednesday.

“Art is a quiet guy but he gets stuff done, so it’s nice he won,” Raber said. “He doesn’t call a lot of attention to himself; he just puts his nose to the grindstone. … Everybody on our board loves him.”

Dillon credited his parents, Art and Kay Dillon, with instilling in him and his two younger brothers a desire to give back to the community.

A 14-year employee of Haven’s Candies, he is a master candy maker and the company’s vice president of operations. With a wife and two daughters that he said “definitely come first,” Dillon said he strives to balance his time between family, work and volunteer service.

And much of his volunteering does involve his family, including coaching his daughters’ softball, soccer and basketball teams. Though he is sometimes paid for umpiring youth and adult softball games, Dillon also serves as a volunteer umpire for many games – about 80 this summer, he said.

In addition, his love of sports and recreation made him a natural to serve on the town’s Community Services and Recreation Advisory Board.

Though he said his work is his second priority, he is able to incorporate his Chamber involvement with his job.

“Working with the Chamber of Commerce is kind of a hand-in-hand thing; it’s part of my work as I represent Haven’s Candies – a good symbiotic relationship,” he said. “I’m grateful for the time Haven’s does allow me to do this. There are definitely times I’m out of the building that my boss would prefer I not be.”

Dillon has been a member of the local Chamber for 12 years and currently serves as its vice president. He also chairs its summer Concert Series, held in Memorial Park. The series began years ago with four concerts a summer, held in the Scarborough Public Library during the month of July, he said. Back then, each drew a crowd of 40 to 50 people.

When Memorial Park opened in 2005, the series moved to the new venue and Dillon fell into the leadership position, initially along with Kevin Freeman, when an accident forced the previous chairman to resign.

Dillon, still the chairman, said the series has expanded to six concerts a summer, with some drawing crowds of more than 2,000 people. These days, the event offers a free shuttle from the Scarborough High School parking lot to the park, the Rotary Club is in charge of concessions and the high school auditorium is available in case of inclement weather.

“He’s the organizer, the champion of that program; it’s easily our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Raber said. “He definitely makes everybody around him better. He’s a class act.”

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or

s-scarVolAward-100909.jpgArt Dillon, of Scarborough, was recently named the Portland Regional Chamber’s 2009 Volunteer of the Year.

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Other winners

Four other awards were presented at this year’s Portland Regional Chamber annual meeting, in addition to Art Dillon’s volunteer award:

• Disability RMS of Westbrook received the Robert R. Masterton Award for Leadership in Economic Development, sponsored by UNITIL.

• Barber Foods of Portland was awarded the Henri A. Benoit Award for Leadership in the Private Sector, sponsored by KeyBank.

• Mark Doiron, chamber senior vice president for merchandising, received the President’s Award, sponsored by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

• And attorney and former Portland Mayor James I. Cohen received the Neal W. Allen Award for Leadership in the Public Sector, sponsored by Verrill Dana.