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Community volunteer leader Nancy Thibodeau to receive UMFK distinguished service award

April 22, 2005

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Fort Kent area community volunteer leader Nancy Thibodeau will be honored with the University of Maine at Fort Kent Distinguished Service Award during commencement exercises on Saturday, May 7, at 1:00 p.m. in the University SportsCenter.

The honor is bestowed annually by UMFK to a deserving recipient who has rendered service to the campus, community, St. John Valley, Aroostook County and State of Maine.

Thibodeau, who has been especially active over the past few years as a key organizer of activity at the Maine Winter Sports Center's 10th Mountain Division Lodge in Fort Kent, most recently served as event director for the 2005 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic Skiing World Championships, held at Fort Kent in March.

"Nancy has been a key leader in the effort to establish winter sports and recreation as an emerging economic engine in northernmost Maine. She is an outstanding example of the wonderful spirit of volunteerism that exists here in Fort Kent and the St. John Valley. Nancy harnessed and guided that great community spirit in ways that have produced well organized events that were a pleasure for spectators and athletes alike. We are proud to honor her with this distinguished service award," said UMFK President Richard Cost.

Cost first announced the news that Thibodeau was selected to receive the honor at the community closing gala celebration for the very successful IPC games on March 20 at the University.

In her role as event director for the IPC games Thibodeau was responsible for directing and managing all aspects of event planning, programming and execution. She was also the official community liaison with the IPC committee and person responsible for ensuring all IPC standards were met.

Last year, Thibodeau served as assistant event manager for the very successful IBU Biathlon World Cup held at the Maine Winter Sports Center venue and in the surrounding St. John Valley community.

In addition to her work in the management of winter sports events, Thibodeau has held a number of professional positions in the healthcare industry.

She earned her bachelor of science degree in medical records administration from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin in 1978 and began her professional career in that same year, when she was recruited by Fort Kent-based Northern Maine Medical Center to serve as director of medical records, library services and quality improvement.

After earning a professional license as a registered health information administrator in 1979 and serving in the NMMC position for seven years, Thibodeau spent two years in the mid-1980's doing consulting work with the Van Buren Community Hospital in medical records, and for Bangor's Health Care Review, Inc. as a coding consultant.

In 1990, Thibodeau began work, first as a consultant, then as director of health information, with Jackson Brook Institute in South Portland. She remained in that position for four years.

In 2000, she returned to Northern Maine Medical Center, where she served as Director of Quality Improvement until 2003.

Thibodeau holds memberships in a number of professional organizations, including the American Health Information Management Association, the Maine Health Information Management Association and the Northern Maine Medical Records Association.

She also is a member of the United States Biathlon Association (USBA) and is licensed as an international referee with the International Biathlon Union.

Her involvement in biathlon events in Fort Kent dates back to the very first competitions held in the community in March of 2000, when she served as a range scorer for the USBA Junior National Championships.

Since that time she has worked on numerous events and served in various capacities, including event manager and competition secretary.

In the coming year, Thibodeau will serve as an event consultant for the IBU 39th Junior World Championships and 5th Youth World Championships being hosted by the Maine Winter Sports Center's Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle in January 2006.

She was asked to serve in that capacity by event organizers who are looking to tap into the wealth of experience she gained in key leadership posts with both the 2004 World Cup and 2005 World Championships in Fort Kent.

Aside from her work in winter sports, in the local community and region Thibodeau serves on the UMFK Foundation Board, the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Maine Make a Wish Foundation Board, the steering committee at the 10th Mountain Lodge and on the St. Louis Parish faith formation committee.

In the past, she has been an active volunteer with Lonesome Pine Ski Trails, the SAD 27 school district, the Aroostook County Red Cross, and served as a past president of the Northern Maine Medical Center Hospital Guild.

Thibodeau's service to the community was recently honored by the Fort Kent Business and Professional Women's Club as they named her 2005 "Woman of the Year".

The Granton Wisconsin native was born in 1955, one of three children of Hubert and Evelyn Dudei. She has one brother Bob, who resides in Appleton, Wisconsin with his family and a sister Sue, who lives in Cannan, Maine with her family.

In 1981, she married James Thibodeau of Fort Kent and the couple has two children Renee, 20 and Paul, 18.

When she receives the honor at the May 7 commencement exercises, Thibodeau will join a number of prominent individuals who have been named UMFK distinguished service award recipients in the past.

They include Congressman Michael Michaud, former State Senator Judy Paradis, State Senator John Martin, community leaders Norman Fournier, Rose Nadeau, and Martin and Sandra Bernstein, former Governor John McKernan, retired educator Paul Bouchard, Fort Kent entrepreneur Carl Theriault, Franco-American cultural advocate Marc Chasse, and last year's recipient Genevieve Jalbert-Bouchard, one of UMFK's oldest living and accomplished alumni.

"I am overwhelmed by this honor. I was extremely pleased when President Cost announced that I would be receiving this distinguished recognition," said Thibodeau. "It really means a lot to me to be recognized by UMFK, an institution that holds a special place to both the local community and to me personally."