Dr. Elizabeth True Honored for Commitment to Protecting Castine Community
CASTINE – Maine Maritime Academy’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Dr. Elizabeth True, was awarded the Helene Podlubny Community Supporter Award/Citizen Service Award earlier this month. The award, given annually by the Castine Fire Rescue Department (CFRD), honors an individual whose contributions have significantly impacted the department and the Castine community.
Originally established in 2005, the award is named after its first recipient, local resident Helene Podlubny. For many years, Podlubny supported the department, regularly gathering snacks, hot coffee, and hot chocolate for first responders when she heard the sirens go off for an emergency call. Regardless of the weather, she would walk down to the station and place the refreshments on a small table just inside the door. As an unwavering supporter of the department and their mission to help keep the community safe, Podlubny offered assistance and comfort to the volunteer staff without any thought for herself or expectation of recognition. She embodied what it means to be a true member of the community.
“Dr. True has consistently served as one of CFRD’s biggest on-campus supporters and continues to champion and cheerlead student volunteers,” noted Stephen Spratt ’93, President, Castine Fire Rescue Volunteer Association. “Further, her personal efforts and professional leadership in response to the global pandemic have been exemplary.”
Since March of last year, Dr. True has led Maine Maritime Academy’s COVID-19 response, developing a robust surveillance testing program, initiating a ‘Care Coordinator’ program to monitor the health and safety of students in quarantine, and managing the transitions to remote instruction and a return to near-normal operations in collaboration with the college’s Residential Life and Health departments. In early April, Dr. True helped facilitate a community vaccine clinic, ensuring that over 475 students, employees, and residents were inoculated against the disease.
“She has worked tirelessly to minimize the impact and spread of this virus on the MMA campus and in the community,” Spratt continued. “We are pleased to recognize Dr. True’s efforts with this award and truly appreciate all of her support and help.”
Dr. True received the award during a small, socially distanced ceremony hosted by the Castine Fire Rescue Department. In her acceptance speech, Dr. True noted the importance of the award and the ‘synergistic relationship’ between CFRD and MMA. “Frankly, we need each other. It is vitally important that our students have the opportunity to train with the fire department, and equally so for the department to have such talented, dedicated volunteers in their midst,” she said.
MMA recently completed a successful spring semester and launched a summer training session aboard the Training Ship State of Maine. In the coming months, the college will host an additional training evolution aboard the ship and launch two training cruises aboard the schooner Bowdoin while also planning for a return to campus this fall.
“Our work is yet not done,” said Dr. True. “But it is wonderful to receive this award after such an overwhelming year. I am truly honored to be able to do this work on behalf of such an amazing community.”
About Castine Fire Rescue Volunteer Association
Castine Fire Rescue Volunteer Association’s (CFRVA) mission as a non-profit organization is to support, represent and promote the needs and interests of Castine’s volunteer firefighters, emergency medical first responders, and the community they serve. CRFVA also sponsors volunteer recruitment and retention, recognizes the achievements of our members, and supports various public safety and education initiatives.