Along with the hard work of being president of the MFPC Board, there also is one unique privilege: Presenting the “President’s Award” to someone who has helped you fill that demanding role.
Mark Doty, president for the past two years, presented the award this year to someone who has been his mentor for three decades: Doug Denico, now Maine state forester.
“Not only do we know Doug, but we love Doug,” Doty said. “It is with an extreme amount of pride tonight that I present Doug Denico and, of course, his alter ego, Peanut, with the President’s Award. Doug has made a tremendous difference to our industry and to me personally, so I take, once again, great pride in presenting this to Doug.
“Doug hired me – twice. I stuck around the second time. He hired me the first time in 1985. He has been a friend for a good number of years now. And just this past winter, he was my cancer coach, which helped out a tremendous amount to get me through that. Thank you, Doug.
“Douglas has meant a tremendous amount to our industry. He’s benefitted our industry from both sides of the regulatory fence. While in industry, he approached it with integrity, a great deal of knowledge about the forest resource across Maine, a great deal of knowledge about how all the different forces interact in Maine and a great deal of knowledge of how the Legislature works in Maine. And he benefitted us through that process as well as in a position that I think he takes great pride in – as state forester. He has worked in our best interests and in the best interests of the statewide resource that is the forests of Maine and for the people of Maine. And he’s done it all with a high degree of integrity and always with the resource in mind,” Doty said. “It is my great pleasure to recognize Doug for everything he has done during a long and illustrious career.”
For those who might wonder, Peanut is Denico’s dachshund and he is rarely seen without her. However, this night he walked to the podium alone.
“Thank you,” he said, then added, “And Peanut! Holy mackerel!”
Denico then congratulated Sen. Pat Flood on receiving the Abby Holman Award and Luke Brochu on receiving the Alfred Nutting Award, adding, “I was in (forestry) school when Al was the director. And I know he’d be very pleased with you getting that award because he recognized that it was people like you who made this thing come together and work. He’d have been very proud that his name is attached to you at this point.”
But he also told Brochu, “I do have a bone to pick with you, though, and that is this. When you were up here you talked about “those people in Augusta.” Several times you said, “Those people in Augusta.” I’m one of “those people in Augusta.” And I’m going to tell you something: I’m here to help you. Trust me.”
He spoke of his long career and deep appreciation for Maine’s forests, saying that was what brought him to Augusta and his position as director of the Maine Forest Service.
“At 70 years old, it was time to give something back,” Denico said. “”I don’t want anyone in the room to think that I went to Augusta for the money. Or for the fame. Or for anything else. I can’t describe the place. I really can’t and I won’t even try. But good things can happen there and hopefully in my tenure down there I have done some things to help you folks, collectively and individually, because that would mean a great deal to me. And I can’t thank you as an industry or individually enough for how much you’ve been to me and for how supportive you’ve been, particularly in the last 3½ to four years. You have been the backbone that’s got me up in the morning and got me going. So thank you for being out there and for being there for me when I needed you.”