Two Cent Bridge Kotlas - Waterville Area
Sister City Connection
P.O. Box 1747
Waterville, ME 04903-1747
Write to Us
Street in Kotlas

Home > Projects > REM Awards > Mary Coombs

Mary Coombs Honored at REM Awards Ceremony

Mary Coombs at REM Awards

Mary Coombs looks down at the crystal award medallion she has just received. Kotlas Connection co-chairman-elect Herb Foster stands at right rear. Photo by Jo Eaton.

The Kotlas Connection selected Mary Coombs as it honoree at the annual REM Community Awards Ceremony, held November 23, 2003, at the Williamson Arts Center in Fairfield. Thirteen other area nonprofit organizations also honored volunteers at that event.

A teacher of the gifted and talented at Winslow Junior High School, Coombs was chosen in recognition of her long involvement with the Kotlas Connection. Coombs has served on the Kotlas Connection's executive committee since the organization's incorporation in October 1993 and was also served on our predecessor organization, the Waterville Area Kotlas Committee.

In April 1987, Coombs was present at the opening of the first box of artwork from Kotlas schoolchildren. In 1989, she organized a trip to Russia for nineteen students and ten. It was during this trip that Natalia Kempers, Peter Garrett, and his daughter Jessica, slipped away to become the first Americans to visit Kotlas.

In April of 1991, Coombs led another group of students to Russia. This time she and the students were able to go all the way to Kotlas. Since then, Coombs has been to Kotlas three more times, with adult delegations. Her most recent trip was in the summer of 2002. She was the lead organizer of all three trips.

Over the years, Mary Coombs and her husband Earl have been host parents to six foreign students, three of them from Kotlas.

Along with last year's honoree, Sheila McCarthy, Mary Coombs is a co-founder of Russian Sampler, a day of lectures and workshops about Russia for middle school students. Russian Sampler has been held annually on the third Monday in March at Colby College since 1993. Thousands of area junior high school students have participated over the years.

The three-hour awards ceremony was organized by REM on behalf of the REM Partners. REM is a broad-based community organization dedicated to developing a vibrant economy, improving education, promoting art and culture, beautifying the environment, and expanding recreational opportunities in Central Maine. The REM Partners are a coalition of two dozen local nonprofit organizations convened by REM to promote volunteerism and share resources. The partnership was founded in the summer of 2001.