Old Town Rotarian Linda Bryant receives 2 Those Who Care Award
OLD TOWN — When Old Town Rotary club member Stan Peterson told Linda Bryant he was nominating her for NEWS CENTER Maine’s 2 Those Who Care Award, she told him to leave her alone. She thought there were more deserving people.
“She’s the most deserving person I can think of,” said Peterson. “She never looks for a pat on the back.”
Peterson went against Bryant’s request and she along with five others were chosen as award winners, attending the 2019 2 Those Who Care Awards ceremony last month at Husson University.
The award honors volunteers and agencies that make a difference in our community, according to NEWS CENTER Maine. After a nomination process, four volunteers are chosen for a 2 Those Who Care Award, one agency is chosen for the Agency of Distinction Award, and one volunteer wins the John W. Coombs Award. All the winners received a $500 grant to give to their favorite nonprofit with Bryant donating hers to the RSU 34 Education Foundation.
Bryant, 64, has lived in Old Town her entire life and has served on the Old Town Rotary for seven years alongside her husband Clarence “Bugsy” Bryant.
A key focus of her work through the rotary is helping children at area schools who face financial shortcomings. Some of the projects Bryant has spearheaded include filling backpacks for students, creating birthday bags and stuffing Christmas stockings for children which include mittens, toothbrushes, candy, books and coloring materials.
Recently, Bryant started a “reverse Advent calendar” project where she gives out a list of non-perishable food items for each day in November which will be collected and given to area school children in the second week of December.
“There are some parents who are struggling financially and they’re doing the best that they can,” said Bryant. “And it’s always the children who suffer. So that’s when I decided to come up with all of these ideas.”
Bryant also volunteers at fundraisers in the Old Town community, including Old Town Methodist Church, where she’s a congregant. Peterson said Bryant also helps paint for Rotary construction projects and she and her husband, who together own Bryant Construction, install ramps in homes for the disabled. She organizes the weekly dinners for rotarians after the group’s weekly meetings as well as the Old Town Rotary hunters breakfast. This year, they had to use generators due to the wind storm that took out the city’s power Nov. 1.
“That’s what rotarians do. You just do the best you can with what you have to work with,” she said.
Bryant was hesitant about the recognition that comes with winning the award, but hopes that it will encourage people to get involved in their community in small ways whether it be at their local school or other organizations.
Bryant said, “Somebody said to me, ‘Stop and think if you can stir someone’s heart or mind from what you’re doing, and you’re getting them to donate their time. It’s worth it.”