BUCKSPORT — The Bucksport Enterprise Publisher Don Houghton and his right-hand woman, Sandy Holmes, were honored with the 2020 Spirit of America Award at the June 10 Bucksport Town Council meeting.
Town Manager Susan Lessard said she was thinking about how important a weekly newspaper is to a community.
“They legitimize local achievements,” Lessard said. Newspapers bring problems to light and explain government issues. They advertise local jobs and events and memorialize the everyday happenings in a community.
“Don and his camera are at every event,” Lessard said. “They go above and beyond. We in Bucksport are fortunate to have the Enterprise. The Enterprise is also a lifeline for many former Bucksport residents to stay in touch with their hometown.”
“I think it’s safe to say it’s a labor of love,” said Lessard. “Love for their craft, love for the importance of the written word and most importantly love for Bucksport.”
Houghton spoke briefly and said he was “delighted” that Holmes was recognized as well.
“Sandy does everything that I don’t do,” Houghton said. “That’s an incredible list.”
The newspaper publisher said before he bought the paper 20 years ago from former publisher Sharon Bray, someone told him he was making a mistake.
“I met with a fellow who was very savvy about newspapers in Maine, particularly in this region,” Houghton said. “He called me in and he says, ‘Don, you’re making a big mistake. It’s not a big enough series of communities to sustain a weekly newspaper.’”
Houghton said thanks to the communities and advertisers, “we proved them wrong.”
The Spirit of America Foundation is a nonprofit charity established in Augusta in 1990 to honor volunteerism.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town waited to bestow Houghton and Holmes with the award until they could be honored in person.