Lewiston Leads

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The Lewiston Leads Program highlights individuals who are actively enhancing the vibrancy of Lewiston. As such, the Mayor and City Council members recognize leadership qualities and volunteerism or community service that promote Lewiston’s possibilities, resiliency, and opportunities.

Lewiston's elected officials, through personal experience or nominations, select leaders of their choice, and recognition occurs at City Council meetings. Recipients are presented with a Lewiston Challenge Coin symbolizing positive impact in Lewiston and to challenge others to become engaged as well.

Lewiston Leads Resolve Passed by Lewiston City Council

Photo Directory of Lewiston Leaders
(Most Recent Date First)

January 17, 2023

Courtney Schlachter was recognized by Mayor Carl L. Sheline for her creative business practices and community involvement as owner of Quiet City Books, 124 Lisbon Street. In 2016, Courtney opened Quiet City Books in a tiny 156 square foot room and since then has expanded twice to match her growing vision for the bookstore. Now located at 124 Lisbon Street, Quiet City books is the only bookstore in Lewiston, and it is a community hub for reading and the arts. 

Not only does Courtney work hard to create a successful business, she actively engages the community by hosting story and poetry readings such as the popular Halloween grown-up story time, organizing local author book signings, and supporting local artists and musicians with pop-up events. In addition, Quiet City Books is a venue for the LA Art Walk, For the Love of Art, Sparkle Saturday, Local Writers Read, and more.  

During the height of the pandemic when people stopped shopping in person, Courtney innovated and kept her business successful by curating and selling book boxes to people around the country. Courtney’s hard-working attitude has brought her far and has made her an invaluable member of our community. By setting this example as a leader in Lewiston, she has undoubtedly inspired the next generation of small business owners in our city.

"I am proud to present Courtney Schlachter with this recognition this evening. Congratulations, it is well-deserved," said Mayor Carl L. Sheline.

Drew and Sue Desjardins, of Mr. Drew & His Animals Too, were recognized by Council President Linda Scott as a destination place for Lewiston, an exotic animal education center, 550 Lisbon Street, with plans for expansion.  Council President Scott said she has known both of them personally and professionally, adding that she and Drew go all the way back to 7th grade at Lewiston Middle School; she has also been one of the "lucky Ed Techs to work with their beautiful daughter Janayla."

Council President Scott described Drew and Sue as exceptional parents with a passion and love for kids that has no bounds. Foster parents for many years, they have also adopted three children. Drive by their home in October and November, and you will see why kids in their neighborhood love going to or by Mr. and Mrs. Drew's house as one of the go-to spots in Lewiston on Halloween.

Drew and Sue are best known for their amazing Mr. Drew and His Animals Too exotic animal rescue and education center located at the Pepperill Mill on Lisbon Street.  Drew has been working with exotic animals for over 35 years and turned this passion into a small in-home business in 2012. It was then that Drew not only rescued exotic animals throughout the State but also began educationg local children about these animals, bringing them to schools and local events, and giving kids the opportunity to touch and hold snakes, lizards, turtles, and spiders. Every kids dream!  In 2018, they opened their location at the Pepperill Mill, turning it into not only a place to house rescued animals but also as an education center focused on those animals, exploring nature, environmentalism, geology, and more.

Today you will find Drew everywhere, with Sue providing the backbone to all, as Drew visits more classrooms in our schools, sets up displays and brings his animals to our local Movie Nights in the Park, attends several different festivals and events, gives shows at kids' birthday parties, and can be seen on the local news talking about his work.  Even during the peak of the pandemic while our students were learning remotely from home, Drew made YouTube videos to continue educating and encouraging our kids.

They have a true passion for conservation and environmental awareness, and Drew's "1 Piece at a Time" campaign has encouraged kids and adults alike to pick up trash around our community and keep it beautiful.

Their center has now become a destination place for Lewiston and brings in not only local families but families and folks from all over Maine and New England.  They have a vision to grow and expand the center and are now in the process to find a bigger venue to offer more for the animals and more educational opportunities.  Imagine Lewiston having its very own Exotic Animal and Natural Science Museum, and this we can thank Drew and Sue for.  Drew and Sue are not only caring and giving neighbors; they are true advocates for Lewiston and all of us!

January 3, 2023

Jimi Cutting was recognized by Ward 3 Councilor Scott Harriman for his dedication to the recovery community.  Jimi came to Lewiston homeless in 2012. Once he secured housing, he began volunteering at the 12 Hour Club, a social club for people in recovery from drugs or alcohol, spending many hours each week offering help to the club’s members.

Jimi currently works as the House Manager at the St. Martin de Porres homeless shelter, where he has worked since 2015. Councilor Harriman said he paid a visit to St. Martin’s early last year to learn more about the shelter and was really impressed with how things are run there.

Additionally, Jimi, along with some other community members, helped to create the WAY Project, with ‘WAY’ standing for ‘Who Are You?’ This is a program that helps people obtain new ID cards and other identity paperwork that they no longer have. This is especially important for people experiencing homelessness or housing instability, as possessions are more frequently lost or stolen.

Councilor Harriman also noted that Jimi often spends time walking or chatting with people in recovery who need someone to talk to or who need advice or information about services.

"I am proud to present Jimi with this Lewiston Leads challenge coin in recognition of all the work he has done and continues to do for the people of Lewiston," concluded Councilor Harriman.

December 20, 2022

Robert "Bob" Reed was recognized by Ward 4 Councilor Rick LaChapelle for his community involvement.  Councilor LaChapelle shared that during Bob's senior year at Edward Little High School, his mother gave him a choice between getting a job or volunteering someplace. Bob chose the latter option and became a volunteer at the Boys Club on Bartlett Street and "has not looked back since." 

After receiving his BA in Business Administration, Bob and his wife chose to live in Lewiston, purchase a home, and raise three sons, always supporting his sons' activities/sports teams.  Volunteering at the Boys Club and being a father of three sons led him to the Scouts, where he volunteered for over 25 years locally and on district projects/events.

Bob has also contributed many years of service and expertise to the City of Lewiston's governance:  He served two years as a city councilor; eleven years on the Finance Committee; on the Naming Committee for Connors Elementary; and on the High School Expansion Committee. He was appointed twice to the Solid Waste/Recycling Committee, and he currently serves as the Lewiston representative for the Androscoggin County Budget Committee. Bob recently completed five years on the Advisory Board for the Looking Ahead Clubhouse, which serves community members with physical or mental health challenges who are seeking to re-enter the workforce through vocational rehab. Bob was instrumental in getting a bus stop added for the Clubhouse and was able to secure new employers for Clubhouse members, including the City of Lewiston.

Councilor LaChapelle said that Bob is not one to draw attention to his service and generosity to the world around him and praised him for being one of the forces behind the Jayden Cho-Sargent Memorial Garden, dedicated to Jayden and his loved ones.  In addition, after a local student drowned while on a school outing and learning that many could not afford swim lessons, Bob had the idea of establishing a YWCA "Buddy Up" scholarship dedicating funds for those unable to pay for swim lessons, to include adhering to cultural norms and practices for a multi-ethnic community.

Professionally, Bob has spent 30+ years in Healthcare Reimbursement & Finance, having worked for some of the larger medical practices, including rural health and nursing facilities, and is a resource to many providers statewide.  Currently, he is the Executive Director of the Maine Chiropractic Association, providing administrative duties as well as marketing, legislative, and other assistance to over 300 doctors in Maine.   He is also Co-Chair of the Maine Alliance of Health Care Professionals and has been a frequent appointee to various Mainecare projects representing various healthcare entities.    

Councilor LaChapelle also called Bob an "expert watchdog" over the use of taxpayer monies and "always willing to give fellow citizens and officials alike crash courses in finance."  He added, 'Bob remains dedicated to a better Lewiston and will always be a fierce defender of the good he continues to see in the city he calls home."

Paul Robinson was recognized by Council President (Ward 6) Lee Clement for his municipal government service.  Council President Clement first reflected on Paul Robinson's journey to Lewiston.  At age 10 in 1950, he followed his father to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before finishing high school in San Diego (completed 9th grade in the Kingdom).  He was then drafted into the Armory and spent a tour in Germany. While in college, he applied to the US State Department, was accepted, and went to Damascus, Syria.  He attended the Foreign Service Institute.  The Embassy in Damascus was bombed and ultimately closed, so he was diverted to Rawalpindi, Pakistan.  Ironically, a young lady, Polly, from Lewiston had arrived there a week earlier!.  They soon met, were married a year later, and have been married 55 years.  After leaving the State Department, Paul become involved in the aviation industry from which he retired after 30+ years in the Kingdom.  

In 2003, the search for a retirement home began.  Upon considering various places, Lewiston was the choice!

Apparently, retirement is not a word that Paul either Googled or looked up in the proverbial Funk & Wagnalls because shortly after arriving and settling in, he became interested in local politics and government service, and, as history will show, he has served our great city in the following positions, just to name a few:

Cable TV Advisory Committee; Auburn Lewiston Airport Committee; 911 Committee; Lewiston Planning Board - 2 Terms; Lewiston Board of Appeals; Lewiston Finance Committee - 2 Terms; Lewiston Charter Review Committee - Sept. 2011; Lewiston Election Poll Volunteer - 16 Various Elections; Historic Preservation Review Board; Bates Mill #5 Task Force Member; Lewiston Police Chief Selection Committee; Riverfront Island Master Plan Committee; Census "Complete Count" Committee Member; City of Lewiston Recycling Committee; Maine Member of the US Commission on Civil Rights; Lewiston/Auburn Railroad Company Board Member; Lewiston/Auburn Transit Committee - Current Member; Community Development Block Grant Committee - 3 Terms and Current Member.

Most recently, Paul served (w/ Council President Clement) on a Finance Committee Selection Review Sub-committee to recommend the awarding of a bid for services to provide city buildings with updated energy control systems. 

Council President Clement said he's not sure what you're supposed to do when you retire, but we can all rejoice that Paul Robinson chose to become involved and serve his adopted city.  "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Paul Robinson and to Paul I give this Lewiston Leads Challenge Coin as a token of our esteem and recognition." 

December 6, 2022

Darby Roy, of the Bates College Harward Center, was recognized by Mayor Carl L. Sheline as an "esteemed" community member.  Mayor Sheline said that Darby fully epitomizes what Lewiston Leads is all about and, most importantly, teaches students to also serve the community, an impact that will reach far beyond what one person can do themselves. Darby is the head of the Harward Center, a community outreach and civic engagement program at Bates College. Through her hard work, every year roughly 500 Bates students volunteer at schools and community events, support local nonprofits, and contribute to projects around town such as cleaning up Riverside Cemetery. Many of the students who stay in Lewiston after graduating from Bates have cited Darby Ray and the Harward Center as the driving force for why they have a strong connection to the community and want to continue to live here. Mayor Sheline said as we work to attract more young people to Maine, the Harward Center contributes by instilling a sense of purposeful work and upstanding values in their students and allows them to see themselves as part of the Lewiston community.

Beyond her work at the Harward Center, Darby is a committed community member and engaged resident. As a long-time trustee of the Lewiston Public Library and a member of the Maine State Library Commission, Darby has prioritized equality of education in our city and state. In addition, she is an advocate for the arts and is on the Executive Committee of L/A Arts, and serves on the Lewiston Public Art Committee.  Last but not least, Darby focuses on improving BIPOC workforce opportunities by being a member of the Working Communities Challenge Core Team and sitting on the Executive Committee of Healthy Neighborhoods.

"Darby Ray is an incredible gift to Lewiston, and this city would not be where it is today without her tireless commitment to our community. She sets an amazing example for her students and countless others in Lewiston. Thank you, Darby, for being a leader in our community for the past decade; you have made a positive impact on many aspects of our city, and I am so pleased to recognize you for Lewiston Leads this evening," said Mayor Sheline.

Johnny Clark, of A Hand Up, was recognized by Ward 3 Councilor Scott Harriman for his advocacy for those recovering from substance use disorder and providing a safe place and community support.  Johnny is the co-founder, owner, and executive director of A Hand Up, which operates several recovery and re-entry houses, including one on Bartlett Street in Lewiston. The 24-bed house serves men and women recovering from substance use disorder and provides a safe space with community support while also partnering with many different service providers to help residents gain the skills necessary to lead healthy, productive lives. 

"I went to A Hand Up’s grand opening party this past September and was especially struck by my conversation with Susan Bergeron, who said that when she was growing up in this neighborhood, 87 Bartlett Street was where everyone went to get drugs; but now, that address has been transformed into a place of recovery and positivity for the neighborhood," said Councilor Harriman.

Johnny himself is formerly incarcerated, has also been in recovery for about three and a half years and has dedicated his life to helping those who suffer from substance use disorder become the very best versions of themselves. He is a certified intentional peer support specialist, registered recovery coach, behavioral health professional, and a licensed certified alcohol and drug counselor. He also works for Maine Prisoner Re-Entry Network providing peer recovery support services. 

"I am honored to present Johnny with this Lewiston Leads challenge coin in recognition of all the work he has done and continues to do for the people of Lewiston," said Councilor Harriman.

November 15, 2022

Susan Bergeron, owner of Webb's Market, was recognized by Mayor Carl L. Sheline as a hometown hero.  Mayor Sheline stated he was beyond excited to recognize Susan Bergeron for her incredible contributions to the Lewiston community. Susan truly believes in this city and does it all with an incredible smile. Over 4 years ago, Susan became the new owner of Webb’s Market, bringing new life to Pine Street and building a strong community around her business. Susan has grown Webb's substantially with increased offerings and now stocks healthy foods to give people more options. Her inspirational saying on her store's inside chalkboard gives people the strength to find courage, hold onto hope, and put good thoughts into action. These little touches to her market are what make her special. She is an advocate and inspiration for everyone and is known to be a friendly ear for anyone who walks through her doors. 

Mayor Sheline added that as a life-long citizen of Lewiston, Susan knows what our community needs and knows how to make it happen. She has developed several surrounding properties in the city and, most notably, completely renovated an empty building on Pine Street to make business office spaces for people in the neighborhood.  This past summer, Susan helped organize and sponsored the Pine Street Block Party. It was a day of excitement, fun, and, most importantly, community. Susan’s work to develop and engage Lewiston has made and will continue to make huge impacts in the community.

Mayor Sheline said that Susan is the definition of a hometown hero, someone who leads with compassion and cares endlessly about this city. "It is people like Susan who make me proud to be Mayor, and I know she makes many of you proud as well. Her commitment to Lewiston should never fly under the radar, and I am so happy to be able to recognize her this evening."

November 1, 2022

Signe Lynch was recognized by Ward 3 Councilor Scott Harriman as a community leader. He stated he first encountered Signe during a lunchtime talk put on by the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College, where she gave a presentation about her summer project: helping to establish a composting program at Lewiston elementary schools. Since then, she has served in various capacities with several other local organizations, including the Center for Wisdom’s Women and the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center. 

Signe currently works as the Education & Employment Support Program Coordinator at New Beginnings, an organization that serves youth and families in crisis. In this role, she connects local young people experiencing homelessness with educational resources and provides support to help them succeed. This includes things such as assisting with school or college enrollment, filling out financial aid applications, or completing a high school diploma or equivalent credential. She also provides support for employment resources, including help with job applications, resumes, career exploration, and skills development.

Dan and Sandy Marquis, of Marquis Signs, were recognized by Ward 7 Councilor Stephanie Gelinafor their 45 years as a full-service sign company in Lewiston, as well as their vast community contributions. Their list of civic engagement includes; 

Dan: Service on the Stanton Bird Club Board of Directors for 25 years and now volunteers to manage their website and Facebook; photography displayed at the Maine Photography Show, with many photos published in Nature Photography magazine.  His landscapes and cityscapes hang in many local buildings such as the Hampton Inn.  

Sandy: Co-founded the Emerge Film Festival, Sparkle Saturday downtown shopping event, and the Downtown Lewiston Association; has served on the Lewiston Development Corporation Board, Lewiston Comprehensive Planning Committee, Lewiston Planning Board, Chamber of Commerce Board, Chamber's Regional Image Committee, past Chair of LA Arts, Co-Curator of Prose Gallery; 2016 recipient of the Theresa Sampson Award for Women's Business Leadership; co-produced the short documentary film, Raising Ali, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Ali vs. Liston fight and how it impacted Lewiston, attracting attention from the New York Times which featured an article about it.  She currently serves on the Lewiston Historic Preservation Review Board.

October 18, 2022

Dave Gervais was recognized by Mayor Carl L. Sheline, aka “Top Dollar Dave,” for being a model citizen, outstanding volunteer, and advocate for hope and healing. His nickname is well-deserved because over the 13 years that he has fundraised for the Dempsey Challenge, Dave has raised over $200,000 to support work at the Dempsey Center and over $22,000 just this year, which has made him the top overall fundraiser. The mission of the Dempsey Center is to help make lives better for those impacted by cancer and was inspired by actor Patrick Dempsey’s mother’s battle with the disease. 

Because of family and friends who have died from cancer, Dave has gone door to door, mobilizing his neighbors, friends, and coworkers to donate to this cause. He even writes a letter and sends it to hundreds of people from Lewiston-Auburn and beyond. Most of the donations are under $20, which is proof that this is truly a community effort. Dave has a knack for fundraising and bringing people together for a common cause.  Mayor Sheline noted that Dave is someone to look up to and he’s proud that Dave is part of the Lewiston community.

Bill Hird (accepted by son Tom) was recognized by Ward 6 Council President Lee Clement as the owner of the Chickadee, a landmark family business that “rose like a phoenix” by establishing itself in Lewiston after flourishing for 77 years in Turner until tough economic conditions in 2012.  The recognition was accepted by Bill's son, Tom, who is part of the family business.  Councilor Clement said that Lewiston has benefited from the determination of Bill and his family who say, “We do it right.”  Councilor Clement says it’s hard to argue with that because it’s true!  He said Bill looked for what real estate leaders say are the most important priorities:  location, location, and location, and his move to Lewiston 15 years ago is what Bill deems as the “best move of his restaurant career.”  The restaurant is located on Lisbon Street in Lewiston.  Throughout the pandemic, the family and crew persevered, creating easier take-out options and outside dining under a heated tent, along with masking and social distancing, to still serve the delicious food they are known for, ranging from fresh seafood to haddock chowder to prime rib and popular daily specials.  In addition, Councilor Clement said that Bill and family, most of whom are regularly involved in the business, engage with their employees as family because they recognize that is key to their success and well-known good service. Councilor Clement also noted that Bill encourages all in Lewiston to support local businesses towards community-wide success, prosperity, and continued growth.

Dr. Chandra Sasseville, a Lewiston chiropractor and lifelong resident, was recognized by Ward 4 Councilor Rick LaChapelle for her ongoing community contributions, as well as service abroad.  In earlier years, she donated countless hours to assisting Schooner Estates’ residents.  After graduating St. Dom’s, she furthered her education by obtaining her Doctorate of Chiropractic, graduating with high honors and bestowed with many awards.  During her Doctorate quest, she provided volunteer chiropractic care to residents of Bolivia and Nepal and then continued her education in clinical chiropractic pediatrics. At that time, she was the only chiropractic provider who was Maine Board Certified in pediatrics. She eventually opened her practice here in Lewiston, currently on Sabattus Street, because due to the love she'd received here, she  “just wanted to give back.”  She is well known for establishing Kids Day for the dual purpose of giving local children free health screenings and raising money for local charities.  The 15-year program provided children and families with free dental, vision, feet & spinal screenings, with many other local groups joining the effort. At one point, they served over 500 children and raised thousands of dollars for local charities.  Her practice continues to donate their time and talents at the Triple Crown, Dempsey Challenge, and Commit to Get Fit at St. Mary’s by offering free information on proper health, stretching and eating.  She and her husband, Dr. Ted Stratman, reside here in Lewiston with their three children. 

Jim Grimmel was recognized by Ward 5 Councilor Larry Pease for his long-time business presence and community involvement.  Councilor Pease highlighted Jim for his 54 years as owner of Grimmel’s Service Station, beginning working there at age 16 and carrying on the family tradition by purchasing the business from his Uncle Richard in 1968. His uncle had opened the business in 1944.  It is still going strong and is located on Lisbon Street at the base of Bleachery Hill. Councilor Pease’s Lewiston Leads recognition, however, focused mostly on the extraordinary contributions of Jim Grimmel by establishing local Fly Football during the time he was raising his own four children.  The reason for the program was to provide an opportunity for youth and to teach responsibility, manners, and sportsmanship. The program featured 4 teams which created a good segway for junior high and senior high play. During the 25 years that Jim was involved with Fly Football, approximately 200 youth annually went through the program, topping 5,000+- youth over the total years of Jim’s engagement.   Each year concluded with a banquet with trophies and recognition, and funds for the program were contributed by Jim Grimmel himself and through community fundraising.

October 4, 2022:

Zam Zam Mohamud was recognized by Ward 1 Councilor Linda Scott  as the "epitomy" of what the Lewiston Challenge coin means and said she could write a book about all of Zam Zam’s contributions to the City of Lewiston.  She said when Zam Zam’s name is mentioned in schools, municipal departments, hospitals, and on just about any street in Lewiston, people know her name and bestow accolades. Councilor Scott said that Zam Zam is a “bridge that connects all in our city,” whether a lifetime resident or someone who has just moved here last week, to include supporting our youth at sporting events and offering help to those who reach out to her.  Councilor Scott regards her as the true ambassador of Lewiston” and said she was beyond honored to recognize her.  

Megan Parks was recognized by Ward 7 Councilor Stephanie Gelinas as an above-and-beyond hero and thanked her for volunteering to provide food, blankets, companionship, and needed supports to the underserved in our community who often just want to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.  Councilor Gelinas recognized Megan’s “servant heart,” adding that Lewiston is a better place because of Megan Parks.

Councilor Gelinas also praised Megan’s work as the Director of the temporary FEMA funded homeless shelter and COVID quarantine programs from April 2020 – May 2022, as well as being part of the citizen committee to develop a 24-hour low-barrier resource center to address homelessness in Lewiston and Auburn.  She added that Megan is a licensed DHHS foster parent, state licensed social worker, substance use counselor, and clinical supervisor, currently working as an in-patient psych and chemical dependency clinician, as well as has a private practice. Councilor Gelinas praised her involvement with Trinity Jubilee, Androscoggin County Jail, Lewiston Area Public Health Committee, City Spirit Committee, Lewiston Public Schools (LPS) Policy Sub-Committee, Chair of the LPS Drop-out Prevention Committee, and the LPS 6-8  Concept Committee  Megan also serves as the Vice-Chair and At-Large citywide rep on the Lewiston School Committee, now in her fourth term.  She is also a Certified Red Cross Disaster Response Provider.  

September 20, 2022:

Gary St. Laurent of St. Laurent & Sons Excavation, Inc., was recognized by Ward 4 Councilor Rick LaChapelle for his 1970-originated business' long-time commitment to Lewiston, and since he took over the family business in 2005, the business has grown from 3 - 90+ employees.  Councilor LaChapelle said that the business is known throughout Central Maine as an innovative, cost-saving provider for commercial construction with outstanding personal service for residential projects.  Mr. St. Laurent has also served on various boards and committees, as well as supports local sports and hosts exchange students.  

Former US Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Tim Gallant was recognized by Ward 7 Councilor Stephanie Gelinas  for his tireless, humble work within the community to include serving on the Lewiston Planning Board, going above & beyond as a member of the Rally for Recovery Planning Committee, and facilitating Barriers to Bridges to assist those seeking recovery from substance use disorder, always wanting to assist the most vulnerable.  Councilor Gelinas also stated that Mr. Gallant volunteers at a local food pantry and assists with a weekly meal distribution at Pathway Vineyard Church.

Program Launch - September 6, 2022:

Klara Tammany was recognized by Mayor Carl L. Sheline - Recognized her leadership in establishing the Center for Wisdom's Women and Sophia's House, resources that offer women safe-haven and support to build community, find resources, build self esteem and resiliency, as well as empowering women survivors of addiction, trafficking, and incarceration through holistic healing in a shared community. Center for Wisdom's Women and Sophia's House.

Josh Nagine was recognized by Ward 1 Councilor Linda Scott - Recognized his ongoing contributions as President of the Androscoggin County Land Trust and his willingness to be of assistance, at a moment's notice, to build up, promote, and advocate for the City of Lewiston. Androscoggin Land Trust

Tiana Warriner was recognized by Ward 3 Councilor Scott Harriman - Recognized her leadership as Director of the local R.E.S.T. Center (Recovery, Employment, Support, and Training), a resource for those experiencing substance use disorder and those seeking recovery. The Rest Center