Mark Doty, secretary of the MFPC Board, began by saying “I am honored to present the Abby Holman Public Service Award and second I’m honored to present it to Dave Struble, the third outstanding recipient tonight. I think we’ve got just a slate of outstanding people up here.”
“As everybody knows, the Abby Holman Public Service Award is an annual award given by the Maine Forest Products Council to an individual in recognition of outstanding service on behalf of Maine’s forest products industry,” Doty said. (Previous winners).
“The criterion for this award is simple. The recipient must demonstrate a level of passion, loyalty, and dedication to Maine’s forest products industry, to good government, and a robust economy much the same way that our former Executive Director and friend Abigail “Abby” Holman did.
“David Struble has demonstrated these qualities over a distinguished career spanning more than 40 years in state government, almost 30 of those as state entomologist and for nearly 20 of those years looking after the forest inventory effort. So he has had protection of the forests in his goals for a long time. He has been a rock providing continuity through many administration changes.
“David has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty. He was a founding stakeholder /cooperator and/or chair of numerous councils, commissions, committees and projects at the state, regional and national level. And he’s got Maine’s back when he’s doing that.
“He has built a great deal of respect within the federal system, a solid and valuable knowledge of the system and a collaborative network of contacts, which – once again — helps him have Maine’s back.
“Most recently his collaboration with industry and landowners on setting up a spruce budworm (SBW) data collection system – a very collaborative system that has worked out very well — as well as his collaboration with the MFPC and UMaine on the budworm report, which is where I had the pleasure of getting to know David and his commitment to Maine, and found out that there is a big smile behind that mustache, often a mischievous grin.
“So in recognition of his leadership, effective outreach, and strong determination to insure a well-researched response to the impending spruce budworm infestation, which tonight he told me he thinks is two years away, and also in honor of his exemplary career, which has been devoted to the protection and stewardship of Maine’s forests, it is my great pleasure to present the Abby Holman Public Service Award to David Struble.”
Struble spoke briefly and with feeling, saying, “Having known Abby, I know I don’t begin to have her formidable presence as an advocate. I don’t have her energy. But I do believe in the value of service. When I was first hired – God knows why they hired me – some people had my back in those days.
“I was not the model student. It’s a wonder I got into grad school. To echo what Jimmy Robbins said earlier, I also was a guy who went from the Dean’s list to the other dean’s list in one semester. I got that talk about “Do you really want to be in forestry?” And I did struggle, but people had my back and helped me along the way.
“When I got the job at the Maine Forest Service, Bob Nash (former Maine state entomologist), who some of you probably remember sat me down and said, ‘Now Mr. Struble this is not a research organization– (which was a good thing, because I’m not particularly great research entomologist) and he said, ‘You’re not going to be famous and you’re not going to be rich. This is about providing public service. It’s about professional assistance. That’s what this is about.’”
“You know he was right. That is what this is about. I’ve always thought that’s kind of how I paid back all the help that other people gave me to get to here. And I’m humbled. Thank you so much.”