The Brunswick Rotary Club awarded the 2022  the Walter H. ‘Doc’ Phillips Memorial Award to Susan and Steve Weems on 27 October at the Harpswell Town Hall during a touching ceremony in which ‘Doc’s’ elderly widow, Joan, attended.  Susan and Steve Weems live in Brunswick and were recommended for the award by their fellow community members, non-Rotarians, and wholeheartedly endorsed by members of the Pride and Heritage Committee of Brunswick Rotary Club. 

On September 17, 2019, The Brunswick Rotary Club, and Rotary International lost a wonderful soul with the death of Walter ‘Doc’ Phillips.  Doc and his lovely wife, Joan, moved to Harpswell many years ago and Doc was deeply involved in his community on the Conservation Committee, the Harpswell Land Trust, and Brunswick Rotary.   He was a member of Rotary for over 40 years and was a multiple Paul Harris award recipient and raised many thousands of dollars for the Rotary Foundation. He set the bar high with his dedication and generosity and his passing left a deep void in our hearts.

In recognition of Doc, the Brunswick Rotary Club created an annual Walter ‘Doc’ H. Phillips Memorial Award.  A permanent plaque is mounted at the Harpswell Town Office with places for each awardee’s name.  Each awardee receives a small memento in recognition of their achievements. The award criteria includes selecting a  community member who has demonstrated dedicated involvement in a field of Doc’s interest.  This may include land conservation, volunteerism and service to others, education, water quality, science programs, etc.  There is NO restriction that the awardee must be a Rotarian.

Let me tell you about the Weems family.  Susan has led Brunswick Public Art for many years.  Brunswick Public Art was established in 2010 with the goal of “enlivening public spaces by placing quality art in locations where our citizens and visitors live and play”.  (Note examples)  The projects comment on our beautiful natural landscape, dedication to healthy living, the importance of arts education for our children, and the history of our region. Susan’s community involvement, which includes many students from public and parochial schools and local colleges, has lead to diverse offerings throughout our community. Susan has been the Regional Arts Program administrator for Brunswick, Bath, Freeport and Topsham at the pubic middle and high school level.  She is a board member of the Bowdoin International Arts Festival and loves providing a free room for many of the student participants. Susan & Steve are also a long time host family for Bowdoin College students.  She is a reader for College Guild, a free program for incarcerated people here in Maine.  And last but not least, Susan is a neighborhood organizer.


Steve has served on the Brunswick Town Council from 1991-1995.  He is co-founder and long time member of Brunswick Development Corporation and Past President of Brunswick Economic Development Corporation and a board member of Midcoast Regional Development Authority (MRRA).  Steve is Founder and Executive Director of the Solar Energy Association of Maine which advocates statewide for clean energy.  He is a solar energy entrepreneur and President of the Crystal Springs Farm community solar farm.  He worked with the land trust for use of the site and other activities bringing the project to fruition. You can see the solar farm as you drive past Crystal Spring Farm on Pleasant Hill Road.  He worked with the town to fairly tax solar panels and lobbied the state legislature for net metering.  If that’s not enough, he is also a retired businessman and volunteer Executive Director of the Solar Energy Association of Maine.  He has been described as a ‘Man of Action’ and has been actively involved addressing climate change for years now.  He has been a columnist for Portland Press Herald.  Steve has been on the Brunswick Solid Waste and Recycling Committee which lead the way for us to join EcoMaine for recycling.

This family’s wide and diverse contributions to our community have significant and long lasting impact on our community and we are fortunate to call them ours.