SULLIVAN — Few people in Maine have officiated more soccer games over the years than Denny Harmon.
For 44 years now, Harmon, namesake of the soccer field at Sumner Memorial High School, has been a fixture on pitches throughout Hancock County and the rest of eastern Maine. Returning Tuesday to the field bearing his name, the longtime official received an honor fitting of his years of service.
Harmon was presented Tuesday with the Bob White Award in a surprise ceremony held at Sumner. More than a dozen fellow officials and administrators gathered on the field for Harmon’s receiving of the honor, which is given annually to a Maine Association of Soccer Officials member deemed to have displayed “knowledge, integrity and dedication” in his or her work.
As a soccer official, Harmon, who started Sumner’s soccer program in the 1970s, spent more than three decades as a member of the Acadia Soccer Board. He refereed countless games involving teams under the Acadia banner, which includes all six Hancock County high schools as well as Searsport District High School, as well as regional and state championship contests.
White spoke of Harmon’s ability to recruit new officials in Hancock County and elsewhere in the Downeast area. He also cited Harmon’s remarkable knowledge of rules and guidelines as well as his ability to excel as both an interpreter and an assigner.
“He was instrumental in forming the Acadia Soccer Board of Officials in an area where finding soccer officials or any sports officials was very, very hard,” White said. “Denny was able to keep people on board and made sure that everyone knew what to do, how to do it and when to do it.”
Harmon, who was unaware that Tuesday’s gathering had been organized to present him with an accolade, is the seventh current or former soccer official to receive the Bob White Award. He is the first Hancock County official to claim the honor, which was first issued to White himself in 2014.
“Denny always kept the well-being of his officials uppermost in his mind,” White said. “He never failed to offer help and timely suggestions when appropriate. … High school soccer in Maine has benefited greatly from his attention to detail and commitment to the game.”