Friday, July 10, 2020

Windham families join Maine Backyard Campout event

More than 35 families from Windham will participate in the
first Maine Backyard Campout event on July 10 and July 11.
The event is intended to get families together outdoors during
the pandemic. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
By Ed Pierce  
For many families in Maine, summertime is meant to be spent camping. There’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars after an evening of storytelling and roasting marshmallows around a campfire surrounded by nature and wilderness.

Yet as a result of COVID-19, many local families have curtailed camping plans for this summer. But a new statewide effort to preserve the love of camping is coming to Windham this weekend. Davenport, a programmer for Windham’s Parks and Recreation Department, said that on Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11, Windham families are encouraged to participate in the first Maine Backyard Campout, an initiative celebrating National Parks and Recreation Month where families camp out in their own yards, living rooms, or whatever other home space might be most appropriate for such an activity.

“We’re providing the first 20 families who registered with a ‘campout box’ including s’mores ingredients, and everyone will get camping checklists, s’mores recipe suggestions, campfire safety tips, glowsticks, games and activity ideas, and more,” Davenport said. “So far we have 35 families signed up to participate and even if families don’t sign up, our goal is to encourage people to get outside, even if it’s in their own yards.”

The ‘campout boxes’ were donated to Windham Parks and Recreation by event sponsors Shaw’s of North Windham and BJs of Portland.  

She the activity is a great way to enjoy the summer weather and spend time as a family while social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Families can camp out in their living room or on the porch under the stars,” she said. “They can sleep in a hammock, it’s pretty much open-ended. In years past we used to have a family campout at Dundee Park, but this is something entirely new that anybody can do on their own.” will be able to submit entries in a local photo contest and for a statewide photo contest, Davenport said.

The history of recreational camping can be traced back to an Englishman by the name of Thomas Hiram Holding. He was a tailor by profession who traveled the English countryside from town to town in the mid-19th century and wherever he traveled, Holding was known to pitch a tent and set up shop.

By the late 1800s, “camping” as Holding was known to call his overland journeys, was growing in popularity in Great Britain on the River Thames and connected with pleasure boating activities. 

Because early camping materials and equipment were very bulky and heavy, they were often transported by boat, but soon wagons were used to transport camping materials and equipment and using boats as shelters evolved into tents. first-known mention of “camping” in the press was in an 1869 publication called “Camp-Life in the Adirondacks” by William Henry Harrison Murray, and it was connected to the late Victorian craze for pleasure boating. 

Like in Great Britain, early campout equipment in America was heavy and soon transformed to using tents like their counterparts across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Today camping is enjoyed by all ages all year long and has spread to nearly every nation on Earth. Maine is typically a prime destination for campers because its vast wilderness areas and a generous state park system.

Statewide, the first Maine Backyard Campout event is hosted by the Maine Parks and Recreation Association and is intended as a way for families to enjoy the outdoors together during the pandemic.

In all, more than 30 communities across the state are participating in this inaugural camping event in Maine, Davenport said.

“It’s just an idea that we are trying to continue to have fun and to do recreational activities in this new era we find ourselves in,” she said.

For more information or to register to participate in the Maine Backyard Campout, call 207-892-1905 or online at <

Enthusiastic response greets ‘Operation Summer Snacks’ in Windham

The annual “Operation Summer Snacks,” an initiative of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Windham, collects food for children in need who receive bags of food from the “Backpackers” program during the school year but, in many cases, do not have the snacks during the summer.

It is an initiative that hits home for recipients, and this year, it’s starting there, too, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My family is running it out of our house this summer,” said Jill Russell-Morey, a parish catechetical leader who helped create the initiative in 2016. “We weren’t sure how we were going to be able to swing it with the pandemic situation.” where there is a will, there is a way, and “Operation Summer Snacks” has never been a program to shy away from long odds. In just a few years, an idea of finding a way to help local families in need during the summer months turned into an initiative supported by parishioners and community members that totaled more than 2,500 individual snack items and 226 bags of snacks in 2019.

Through the program, each child receives various individual-sized snacks like raisins, crackers, fruit cups, granola bars, and other items.

This year, despite the many challenges, the initiative is off to its best start ever.

“I’ve had a bunch of people contact me to learn where to send donations. Between checks, cash, Venmo donations, as well as stuff being dropped at our house, my daughters and I delivered 1,616 snacks to the Windham Pantry last week alone!” said Russell-Morey. “That next day I received another $210 in checks from parishioners in the mail! It’s been incredible!”

Even with the pandemic, the response to the program has been astounding.

“It’s amazing. One generous lady had a large box of snacks sent directly to my house from Sam’s Club,” Russell-Morey said.

“Operation Summer Snacks” will continue buying and donating through the beginning of August.“We work with the Windham Food Pantry and they really need our help, especially this summer,” Russell-Morey said. “One big change is that the pantry has requested that we not break the original packaging up this year and bag everything ourselves. They want all original packages which allows for less handling of the packages and easier storage.”

Those who can assist are invited to contact Russell-Morey directly at

“The community we live in is amazing and the parishioners and supporters always help when needed,” she said. “The Holy Spirit continues to touch and work through people which provides great hope during these difficult times.” <

American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 hosting Don Rogers Scholarship benefit, bean supper

The late Don Rogers of Windham served the
American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 for
61 years. A new scholarship to benefit area
students has been set up in his honor.
By Dave Tanguay
Special to The Windham Eagle

It is not summer without bean suppers, so the adage goes.

The American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 was looking at a way to remember the work of our recently passed Post Commander and much loved, Donald F. Rogers of Windham.

Don followed in the family footsteps of his father Maurice Rogers, A founder of the post, Don and his brother Wayne became Legion members shortly after World War II. His wife Norma is an honorary member of the Unity Auxiliary as well and during his 61-year association with the Field-Allen Post, Don was commander on multiple occasions and kept the post going when membership was in decline in the 1990s.

He loved the bean suppers and rarely missed one even into his 90s and anyone who knew Don can't help but remember his warmth and great smile.
In the current COVID-19 climate, it was suggested that the post hold a bean supper on Saturday, July 18 as a curbside event and make it free to the public in honor of Don Rogers. 

It has been proposed to make this an annual event in support of the post’s scholarship program and name the annual scholarships, one for a male and another for a female Windham High School graduate, in honor of Don and to be named the Donald F. Rogers Scholarships.

So, 4 p.m. Saturday, July 18 until the beans run out, the Field-Allen Legion family will host a curbside bean supper pick up, open to the community at the Windham Veterans Center, 35 Veterans Memorial Drive, Windham. menu will be short and features two types of beans (kidney or navy), brown bread or corn bread, coleslaw, red hot dogs and cookies for dessert. 

Those interested in joining the post for a free bean event can drive up to the order desk in the WVC parking lot, place your order, park, and remain in your vehicle while a runner fills your order. 

Those wishing to donate to the Donald F. Rogers Scholarship fund may do so then or by sending their donation to: Field-Allen Post 148 Scholarship, PO Box 1776, Windham, Maine 04062.

For additional information, call 207-892-1306. <

Voters head to polls Tuesday in Windham, Raymond

Windham Deputy Town Clerk Pam Cleaves, left, and
Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell prepare to collect
absentee ballots filed at a new secure dropbox near the
front door of the Windham Town Hall. The dropbox has
been in place since April and was installed as a
convenient way for voters to file their absentee ballots
during the COVID-19 crisis. Morrell and her staff will also
oversee Tuesday's state primary election in Windham.
By Ed Pierce

Casting a ballot during an election is a right that residents of Windham and Raymond do not take for granted and voting has taken on added significance this summer thanks to COVID-19 restrictions in Maine.

With Maine’s Primary vote pushed from its original date of June 9 to Tuesday, July 14 because of coronavirus concerns, a few local positions will be decided at the ballot box and voters also will approve or reject the proposed RSU 14 budget for the coming year.

Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell has watched many local elections come and go during her 26 years working for the town, with the last 19 spent supervising the counting of votes here.

Morrell will be back at it again on Tuesday, leading a staff of 24 workers working at the polls on Election Day.“We’ve been doing a lot of training preparing our staff for this,” Morrell said. “We have two districts in Windham, District 24 and District 25, and with this being a primary, some workers will be assigned to work the Democrat District 24 and others the Democrat District 25, and the Republican District 24 and Republican District 25.”

All told, Windham has about 13,350 registered voters, Morrell said, but not all of them will be casting ballots at the Windham High School polling place on Election Day.

“The number of those requesting absentee ballots is up significantly because of COVID-19,” Morrell said. “In the past about a little less than a week away from an election we would typically have about 500 requests to vote absentee. As of this past Tuesday, we’ve had about 2,700 voters request absentee ballots.”

To help voters using absentee ballots submit their votes easily during the COVID-19 crisis, a secure dropbox for absentee ballots was installed outside the front doors to the Windham Town Hall in April. 

Along with the task of verifying and counting thousands of absentee ballots, Morrell and Windham Deputy Town Clerk Pam Cleaves will oversee poll workers working that day helping check in voters at Windham High School.

Morrell said that polls open there at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Poll workers are paid $12 per hour and some will work in shifts. Meals will be served to poll workers and Morrell said a few poll workers will be there the entire day from start to finish.

According to Morrell, her greatest nightmare on Election Day would be for voting machines to fail. If that happens Morrell said a repairman will be standing by to resolve any issues that occur Tuesday.

The best thing about working at the polling place on Election Day for Morrell is simple.

“You get to see a lot of people you don’t normally see otherwise,” she said. “I graduated from Windham High School in 1978 and sometimes I see people I knew in school who are there to vote.”

Morrell said preliminary election results are expected to be announced by 9 or 9 :30 p.m. Tuesday.

“We are going to try and handle this election with the utmost integrity and want all of our voters to have a great experience whether they are voting absentee or at the polls on Election Day,” she said.

Raymond Town Clerk Sue Look was busy preparing for Tuesday’s election and unavailable for comment.

On the Raymond ballot though, there are two open seats for the town’s Board of Selectmen to be filled following Tuesday’s voting.

Also on the ballot in Raymond, incumbent board members Samuel Gifford and Lawrence A. Taylor III are running for reelection unopposed for the three-year terms.

Voters in Raymond also will write-in possible candidates for two different three-year seats on the town’s Budget-Finance Committee. Incumbents serving on that board, Dana Desjardins and Crystal Rogers, did not choose to run for reelection and no other candidates filed at the deadline to run for those positions.

Incumbent Anna Keeney is seeking reelection to a three-year term on the Windham-Raymond Schools Board of Directors.

Raymond residents also will cast ballots to approve or reject the town’s proposed $5 million 2020-2021 budget, and vote to approve or reject  RSU 14’s $50.8 million proposed budget, with $10.73 million of that amount to be paid by taxpayers in Raymond.

All voting in Raymond will be conducted at the Jordan Small Middle School gymnasium, 423 Webbs Mills Road.

Like in Windham, polls in Raymond are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

As far as the ballot goes in Windham, voters will be asked to approve or reject RSU 14’s proposed $50.8 million budget and $626,443 for the annual Adult Education budget, with $23.15 million to be paid by Windham taxpayers.

Windham voters also will approve or reject a $2.6 million zero-interest capital bond referendum loan from the Maine Department of Education to renovate five RSU 14 schools bringing them into state health and safety compliance and funding other district facility improvements.

Windham’s polling place for residents of District 24 and District 25
Is at Windham High School at 406 Gray Road with voting scheduled between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.<

Friday, July 3, 2020

Writing projects demonstrate student resilience during COVID-19

By Ed Pierce

Even the most experienced teachers found it challenging to continue to keep students focused on learning and improving while using remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis.

But for Amy Engelberger, a Windham Middle School English and Language Arts teacher, a special project this spring demonstrated for her that students are highly adaptable and despite facing obstacles, can produce superior results.

There were many curriculum choices to make as a teacher during our remote learning and I chose to teach writing units for all three of my classes during our last several weeks together,” Engelberger said. “I wanted students to choose their topics and stressed they should choose something they felt very passionate about because this would keep them engaged and curious throughout the writing unit.”
Engelberger said she was confident she could support her students through the research and notetaking process, and then provide lessons to guide them through the writing process one step at a time using Google Classroom and Zoom meetings. 

“The seventh-grade unit was an argument unit where they had to develop a thesis statement and support their thesis with evidence gathered through research,” she said. “The sixth-grade unit was an informational unit where they initially researched their topic to see where the research led them. Students eventually planned three ‘chapters’ to teach readers about their topics.”

As the end of the school year drew closer, Engelberger said she was pleased with the results of the project.

“I have been a teacher for 14 years at Windham Middle School and I felt so emotional as we neared the end of this school year,” she said. “I was so proud of my students and was amazed at the level of engagement in these writing units. I told them as long as we continued to communicate as much as possible while we were apart I knew we would find success and they did it and stayed with me until the end of the year.” said she was so impressed with their finished writing pieces, she thought immediately that many of the pieces could be enjoyed by a wider audience.

She submitted four student articles she chose from the project to The Windham Eagle for publication because they seemed very relevant to her in a number of ways. 

The articles included “Supporting Local Farmers” by seventh-grader Mia White; “Online Learning: Is it more Helpful, or Stressful?” by seventh-grader Riley Yates; “The Library of Congress” by sixth-grader Elizabeth Duncan; and “Stop Motion is a Great Way To Tell a Story” by sixth-grader Nathan R. Paulding.

“Obviously the online learning piece is something we have all been thinking about,” Engelberger said. “Riley is a very gregarious young lady, and even though she was incredibly successful through the entirety of the distance learning it was hard for her to learn remotely.  I loved how she was exploring the topic and thinking deeply about it. 

“Mia is very passionate about farming and talks about a possible future in farming,” Engelberger said. “She can debate the need for farms like a champion. I thought the piece was so relevant as more families and communities consider starting home gardens and trying to support local farms.  It was informative and interesting to read.”

For the other two submissions, Engleberger said she chose them because she thought it might be fun for younger readers of the newspaper to possibly explore these two topics on their own this summer.“Nate loves stop motion and spends a lot of his free time making videos and posting them to his YouTube channel.  He even made his teachers a thank you video for Teacher Appreciation Week,” she said. “I thought more people might want to try this and Nate's piece can teach them and point them in the right direction. 

“Finally, it was important for Elizabeth to tap into her own curiosity with this unit and she settled on the Library of Congress. She worked hard to narrow down the innumerable sub topic ideas and her plans were well done,” Engleberger said. “The finished piece on the Library of Congress was fascinating, I learned so much. Perhaps people might take a rainy summer afternoon to explore the sites Elizabeth highlighted in her chapters. I know I plan to do this.”

A total of 35 of Engelberger’s students participated in the writing project and she said she’s thrilled by what they accomplished during the most trying of circumstances.

“The tasks my students completed during remote learning were not easy and I couldn't be prouder of their persistence and strong communication skills to partner with me in their learning,” Engelberger said. “They reached out to me often to seek feedback and used my notes to improve their writing.

To read the student writing projects online, click on:

Online Learning: Is it more Helpful, or Stressful? By Riley Yates, Windham Middle School Grade 7 

Stop Motion is a Great Way To Tell a Story By Nathan R. Paulding, Windham Middle School Grade 6

Supporting Local Farmers By Mia White, Windham Middle School Grade 7

The Library of Congress By Elizabeth Duncan, Windham Middle School Grade 6

Thrift shop reopens in Windham

The North Windham Union Church UCC has reopened its Thrift Shop at 723 Roosevelt Trail in Windham diagonally across from the fire station.

The shop reopened to the public on Thursday, July 2 and is operated by a group of volunteers.

Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The thrift shop will be following Covid-19 safety precautions and a volunteer will greet the public at the door with details and then shoppers can proceed downstairs to the shop.

The thrift shop has been newly painted, and the public will notice new items and that merchandise has been rearranged. It offers clothing for all ages, along with housewares, books, puzzles, toys, and bargains for everyone. <

‘Need for Speed’ powers Windham racer to track success

Windham Auto Racer Rusty Poland competes at Oxford Plains
Speedway and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in a super late model
Chevy with a distance racing chassis built by Jeff Taylor.
Poland owns the racecar with his father, Wayne Poland.
By Ed Pierce

The thrill of competition and taking the checkered flag are what continue to motivate Windham auto racer Rusty Poland.

From as far back as he can remember, Poland, who turns 26 next week, has yearned to race and improve his skills on the track. Starting out in go-karts as a child and moving up to 250-lap stock car races, Poland has become a name well-known to racing fans in Maine through the years.   

“My grandfather Chummy Brown started racing at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough on Day 1 and never looked back from there,” Poland said. “He still works on my racecar to this day almost daily at the young age of 82.”

Poland’s fans have cheered as he’s won national and divisional championships from Maine to Florida in go-karts, then moved up to compete in full-body racecars and won races in the sport series division and pass races in the sportsman division at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. His top mark to date in the super late model division has been a second-place finish in a race at Oxford Plains Speedway, but he’s also optimistic about his chances this year.“I’m working really hard to earn it, but hopefully we can finally make it happen this season,” Poland said.

During his racing career, he’s captured the World Karting Association National Championship, four WKA divisional championships and was honored as the 2013 PASS Sportsman Rookie of the Year.

On June 28 Poland was 12th overall out of 34 cars entered in a 150-lap pass tour race at Oxford and his goal remains to get better every time out on the track.

His #44 super late model Chevy is a distance racing chassis built by Jeff Taylor, who Poland describes as one of the best chassis builders in the northeastern United States. Additional parts for Poland’s racecar are maintained and installed by him and his crew and he co-owns the car along with his father, Wayne Poland.

“This season we will be traveling to a couple tracks in New Hampshire to race as well,” Poland said. “A normal race for us is 50 laps and then we run a couple of the bigger shows that are 150 laps and last year we competed in the famous Oxford 250 which was 250 laps.”

In Poland’s opinion, the best thing about racing is all of it.

“I love everything about it. It’s brought me close with so many friends,” he said. “I consider them family and how much of a family sport it is for myself. My grandfather, my mom, my dad, my aunts, my uncles, and my cousins all support me and come to almost every race and always try and help in any way possible. It’s extremely humbling to have the support group that I have and I’m extremely blessed.” 

According to Poland, a 2012 graduate of Windham High School, the most challenging aspect of racing is the constant fight to do better each time out on the racetrack.

Windham Auto Racer Rusty Poland, right, has been racing for
much of his life with the encouragement  of his father, Wayne
Poland, left. Poland's grandfather, Chummy Brown, 82, used to race
in Scarborough and still helps out by working on Poland's car to
this very day. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
“Setups on the cars are always changing and everyone’s finding new things to go faster and it’s just really hard to keep up with and hard to afford buying some of the things for being a small family team like us,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s also that aspect that gives you the thrill and excitement on the nights when you do well.”

He said that the worst part of racing to him is the money involved to stay competitive.

“Not so much the dollar bills themselves, but everything takes money,” Poland said. “Something breaks and it has to be replaced and fixed, you crash it’s going to cost you more money to buy new parts. A lot of teams put so much into it and to see stuff like that happen is a real reality check and bummer for anyone.” 

When he’s not racing, Poland works for Casella Waste Systems in the maintenance department as a diesel truck technician.

He’s also a Maine certified welder and has done a lot of welding and truck body rebuilds. In the little free time he does have, he enjoys snowmobiling, dirt biking and anything that has a motor involved with it.

Poland says he owes a great deal to his sponsors, who have allowed him to pursue his dreams.
“I have some awesome sponsors and I would never be close to where I am today without them,” he said. “I have Derek Kneeland Racing who is actually my cousin and a NASCAR spotter for Kyle Larson. We have Casella Waste Systems who has sponsored me since the very first season and also my mother father and myself are employees there.”

Other sponsors of Poland are Morrell’s Excavation and Septic, Bonang Concrete LLC, Timmons Machine and Ty-gar Machine in Windham, Kruzecks Garage, Maine-ly batteries and his friends and family also chip in and give him tire money and such when they are able to do so. 

As far as his future is concerned, Poland said that he’s realistic, realizing how difficult it is to compete in NASCAR races.

“But I would love to be able to get a ride driving someone else’s racecar and being able to do some pass tour races and things like that would be my top of the line deal that I’d love to see in the future,” he said.

His advice for those considering a racing career is to not ever give up on your dreams.

“If it’s worth everything you put into it, keep the drive and determination to get better, fight through the hard times and enjoy the good times,” Poland said. “Racing is a roller coaster of emotions, but with the right attitude you’ll get through it. And most importantly, surround yourself with good people and good things will happen. Never lose respect or thankfulness of the people that give up time to help you follow your dreams. It takes an army to run a race team.” < 

Student’s interest in photography looks at life through a creative lens

Holden Anderson, a Windham High School
student, is a promising photographer with
a keen eye for capturing detail in his work.
By Matt Pascarella

The summer before his freshman year of high school, Holden Anderson took a trip with his family to London bringing a camera he had received for his birthday. It was then then and there that Anderson really began to take photography seriously. Before that, a lot of his photographs were iPhone-based pictures of sunsets and places he visited. After receiving the camera, he found himself really starting to appreciate what the world has to offer. London’s architecture opened his creative eye and allowed him to start to look at the world through a non-iPhone lens. And that interest and love of photography has stayed with him to present day.

Anderson got interested in photography through outside activities. He and his friends have always liked to participate in activities like going on bike rides or visiting cool places in Windham. He really enjoys photographing landscapes, usually, the beach or surrounding ocean, as well as his friends. Photographing and showcasing what we do is a way for us to remember it, but also for other people to see it,” explained Anderson. Capturing photos of his friends and himself, along with documenting what he sees on an everyday basis is his favorite thing about photography.

Anderson knew photography was something he wanted to pursue. He had been an avid YouTube content creator and noticed that a lot of content creators used drones to produce a sense of professionalism in their videos. He finally got one and says it’s one of the best materials he owns. Several years ago, he began taking aerial photos of real estate. He’s been showcasing his drone photos and videos on his Instagram account @HAproduced. He’s working hard to turn his account into a business where he can provide real estate photography for those trying to sell their homes.

He recently took several photos at a Black Lives Matter rally in Portland.

Windham can sometimes be a shuttered place compared to the rest of the world. Therefore, when I heard about the Black Lives Matter protest going on in Portland not only did I support the cause, but I also wanted to experience people in my own community fighting to better the community they live in.”

Throughout this turbulent year of 2020, Anderson realized he was living in a ‘future history text book’ (a quote from his friend Nick Yeaton) and wanted to one day be able to tell his kids that he was at the rally and witnessed a part of that history.

Anderson says the photographs show Mainers, regardless of ethic origin, coming together, in a time, when that’s made difficult by the Coronavirus, to fight for a cause they believe in. He added that this rally was “probably the most meaningful piece of photography I will photograph in a while.” he finds most challenging about photographing is finding the right angles that are perfect to shoot photos. “Also, seeing a great landscape with your real eyes, but when you take the photo, your camera doesn’t always capture the beauty that you see.”

Aside from photography Anderson plays lacrosse. Before the Coronavirus hit, he and his friends took video at a Bowdoin College lacrosse game. He loved how the final edit turned out. For his upcoming senior year, he wants to utilize making videos for athletes at his school and others in the state. When he returns to school in the fall, he plans to start a videography and photography club and to make sure all Windham sports are filmed and photographed.

Once he graduates, he plans to center his education around either communications or political science. Over the next 10 years, Anderson wants to find a way to integrate his photography and videography into his work; whether it’s part of a business he runs or a hobby he can go to relax. He plans to keep photographing things what make him happy and take more sports photos as well
photos on road trips with friends.

He’s currently talking to a couple of real estate companies in Southern Maine, but the virus has made it difficult. He’s done lots of free sample pictures for family and friends. He’s used these pictures as a basis for what he will provide for future clients. “Hopefully, when we begin to return to some normalcy, I can try to expand my business and talk to more customers.” 

Anderson says he is part of a very creative generation and “any way creativity can be expressed can serve as a landmark for what that generation is really about.”

“To see my ideas come out into a visual representation that I can share with my friends, I feel a sense of satisfaction, said Anderson. “Documenting what is going on in my not only a great way for me to commemorate and appreciate life in the moment, but also gives me a platform to look back on in my later years and be able to reminisce about the years that I have been told will be the best years of my life. Personally, I feel that I have always had creative thoughts, without a way to express them, and now through photography and videography, I feel that not only can I express them, but possibly turn them into my own business and company.” <

Raymond student to serve in Maine Air National Guard

Keith Mank of Raymond has joined the Maine
Air National Guard and will be sent to
Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio,
Texas for basic military training once the
COVID-19 crisis has passed.
By Ed Pierce

The decision to wear the uniform of the United States is a choice that is not undertaken lightly and a commitment to making our nation a stronger and better place than the one we have inherited from previous generations. Keith Mank of Raymond has made such a choice and will be traveling to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas early next year to complete basic military training.

Mank, 19, enlisted in May 2020 as a member of the Maine Air National Guard. He is a 2019 graduate of Hebron Academy and is currently an exercise science major at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

As a member of the Maine Air National Guard, he will train as a Bioenvironmental Engineering Specialist as he continues to pursue his studies in college. His ultimate career objective is to become a physical therapy doctor.
“I like helping people and by serving as a Bioenvironmental Engineering Specialist, I will be able to do just that,” Mank said. “I will be learning about biohazards and many other things that will be of benefit to citizens of this state and this country.”
A friend serving in the Maine National Guard told Mank about what it was like to enlist and suggested he explore the opportunities that are available.
He will serve in the Air Guard for six years and then has a two-year reserve commitment following that. enlisting, he’s attended monthly meetings in Bangor, where the Maine Air National Guard is headquartered. The mission of the Air Guard is to function as the aerial militia of the State of Maine and as needed by the United States. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Maine governor unless federalized by the U.S. president during times of national and international emergencies.
Mank says he’s eager to attend basic training in Texas, but because of COVID-19, it may not be until January when training is resumed there for new recruits.
After completing basic training at Lackland, he will be sent to an Air Force tech school for specialized training in his career field and as a result, he will be taking off the spring semester at UMaine Presque Isle.
“Because of going to basic training and tech school, I’m talking classes this summer and hopefully won’t lose any time,” he said.
This fall, Mank also will be serving as a Residential Advisor at the university where he will be a sophomore.
Although the physical rigors of basic military training for recruits is challenging, Mank said he’s looking forward to it.
“The basic training regimen doesn’t bother me being an athlete,” he said.
He currently plays soccer for the UMaine Presque Isle Owls and played prep soccer, hockey and lacrosse for Hebron Academy while in high school. 
During his time serving in the military, Mank said he hopes to be able to see Europe and said he especially wants to travel to Normandy in France to visit the site of the D-Day Invasion in World War II. 
We are proud to welcome Keith Mank into the Maine Air National Guard Family,” said his recruiter, Senior Airman Leah Mariel R. Behrman. “Keith will continue to do great things in serving his country and community.”
He’s the son of Niels and Kelly Mank of Raymond and is the only resident of the Windham and Raymond areas to enlist in the Maine Air National Guard so far this summer, Behrman said. <