Raises $20,000 to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
AUGUSTA – The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine celebrated its 20th anniversary May 1 at the association’s Annual Meeting, raising approximately $20,000 for the Log A Load for Kids Foundation to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Founded in 1995 with a handful of members who were concerned about the future of the industry, the PLC has grown steadily to become a statewide trade association which provides independent logging contractors a voice in the rapidly changing forest products industry. Board membership consists of only loggers, making it an organization that is run by loggers on behalf of loggers. PLC members employ nearly 2,500 people and are responsible for 75 percent of the timber that is harvested from Maine’s forests annually.
“The PLC represents the fabric that the State of Maine was built on,” said, Dana Doran, Executive Director of the PLC. “Although many challenges lie ahead, the future is bright for Maine’s highly adaptive, talented and evolving logging industry. The PLC has made some significant strides on behalf of loggers in the past 20 years and it is poised to continue to work on behalf of loggers throughout the state for years to come.”
PLC members are well known for their generosity in supporting charitable causes benefiting children, and this year was no exception. In addition to the fund-raising auctions and donations held during the course of the day, the PLC also welcomed this year’s Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) “Champion Child,” during a midday luncheon.
Log A Load For Kids is an annual campaign which encourages loggers and others in the forest products community to donate the value of one load of logs, or any amount, to local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Log A Load For Kids is a national leader in CMN fundraising. For more information, or to donate funds to a CMN-affiliated hospital in your area, please visit www.logaload.org.
Since Log A Load began in 1988, the campaign has raised over $41 million dollars for children in need of medical treatment at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The PLC funds raised will benefit the program at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
The PLC Annual Meeting included review of an economic impact study on logging conducted by the University of Maine and a session with paper mill company representatives to discuss ways the mills can collaborate with PLC contractors to work toward mutual benefits.
The Annual Meeting concluded with an awards ceremony honoring outstanding loggers and supporters of the logging industry in Maine.
Awards presented included:
▪ The Acadia Insurance Safety Award, presented to Comstock Woodlands of Hampden. Founded by the late Harold Bouchard to fill the void created by the closing of Great Northern Paper’s logging camps in northern Maine, Comstock, now led by Harold’s son Brian and grandson Jeff, is a model operation spread across 12 townships and 250,000 acres, harvesting more than 100,000 tons annually and maintaining more than 100 miles of roads. The company boasts an aggressive safety program and Comstock’s slogan, “Safely Driven, Excellence Delivered,” highlights the importance of safety to the company.
▪ The PLC Impact Award, presented to Senator Andre Cushing, Assistant Majority Leader of the Maine State Senate. Senator Cushing is currently serving his second term in the Maine Senate representing District 10. Senator Cushing has been a small business owner for more than 30 years, and currently operates New England Forest Products, with several locations throughout Maine. Senator Cushing has taken on a prominent role in the state legislature on behalf of logging contractors, speaking in support of the industry on numerous occasions and sponsoring three pieces of legislation on behalf of the PLC.
▪ The PLC Community Service Award, presented to Steve Madden from SF Madden Logging of Greenbush. Mr. Madden is a long-time PLC member, a Master Logger, and a third-generation logger who has worked in the business for more than 40 years. Mr. Madden is president of the Maine State Truck and Tractor Pullers Association. As strong supporters of the Log A Load for Kids annual campaign for many years, Mr. Madden and his wife, Lois, took on the role of gathering prizes for the Log A Load for Kids golf tournament in Maine beginning in 2002, and have dedicated countless hours to this task since then as well as the task of organizing, supporting, and participating in the tournament.
▪ The PLC Supporting Member of the Year Award, presented to Barry Equipment, Inc. of Webster, Massachusetts. Jack Barry and his son, Tom, founded the business in 1985 and after 30 years in business Barry Equipment is still a family company run by Tom Barry and his wife, Trish. The company began by selling Clark Skidders and today sells and services Peterson chippers and grinders, Doosan Equipment, and Rotobec grapples and loaders throughout New England and New York. The company’s dedication to customer service is second to none and Barry Equipment has given strong support to the PLC by sponsoring safety training for members in 2014 and 2015.
▪ The PLC Logging Contractor of the Year Award, presented to Voisine Brothers, Inc. of Fort Kent, Maine. Brothers Ben and Joe Voisine established Voisine Brothers in 1999 as a two-man, first generation logging company. Within five years the brothers had asked their father, Gary, to join the company as a third partner, added a second complete harvesting system, and increased their total employment to more than 10. In 2010, Voisine Bros’ became Master Logger Certified and a year later joined the PLC. Today, the company has three harvesting systems, seven machines, 18 employees, and harvests more than 100,000 tons of logs annually. In 2014 the company was responsible for the restarting of a logging training program at their local technical high school to produce the next generation of operators for the industry. Gary Voisine has played a significant role on the steering committee for the Northern Maine Forestry Cluster, an economic development initiative attempting to remove barriers for the forest economy in northern Maine.
▪ The President’s Award, presented to Andy Irish of Irish Family Logging. Mr. Irish is a Peru native, logging contractor, Master Logger, and established Irish Family Logging in 1984 with only a cable skidder and chainsaws. In 2000, Irish Family Logging became fully mechanized in the same year Andy’s son, Jason, joined the company full-time. In 2010 Mr. Irish’s son-in-law, Dean, also became a full-time participant in the business. Throughout his career, Mr. Irish has taken the role of giving back to his community and to the industry very seriously, and has served on the boards of both the Northeastern Loggers Association and the American Loggers Council, playing a key role on the latter in helping the Council on issues including Master Loggers Certification, truck weights on the federal interstate highway system, visa applications for forest workers, and Canadian lumber tariffs.
In 1995, Mr. Irish was a founding member of the PLC and has served the organization in many ways, including serving as its only treasurer for 20 years.
Learn more about the PLC at www.maineloggers.com.