Friday, February 21, 2020

Raymond man raises awareness about the importance of AEDs after surviving cardiac arrest at daughter’s wedding

L-R: Town Selectman and Church Trustee, Rolf Olsen; Raymond
Fire EMS Chief, Cathy Gosselin, Tom Wiley, Joe Bowie (son in law)
Mary Bowie (daughter) and Brenda Olsen, Raymond Arts
Alliance and Church Treasurer. 
By Elizabeth Richards
Mary Bowie could have lost her father on one of the happiest days of her life. On Memorial Day 2019, at Bowie’s wedding reception, Tom Wiley collapsed on the dance floor. Fortunately, the right help was available, and he survived the ordeal.

“Without the aid of trained people who know CPR and an AED at the reception, I may not be here now” said Wiley. While three men at the wedding who had CPR training (the bride’s uncle Danny; her new father-in-law Chris; and one of the groomsmen, Tyler) sprang into action, that alone may not have been enough to save Wiley. Fortunately, the reception site, Camp Ketcha in Scarborough, had an automatic external defibrillator (AED) on site. The men were able to revive Wiley before EMS arrived.
Wiley didn’t have any symptoms of heart trouble like chest pain, headache, nausea or vomiting that day.  I was dancing, and then I wasn’t. I don’t remember anything from beginning to dance to being outside going in the ambulance,” he said.

Since then, he has learned a lot about the heart, he said.  He has a defibrillator, does a rehab program, and will meet with a genetics cardiologist soon. He said he’s had a good support system with family, church members, and co-workers. “I’m very lucky, and I want to spread the news,” he said. his experience, Wiley said, he didn’t understand the importance of the AED. He works for the city of South Portland and when they purchased some AEDs a few years ago, he wondered why they were necessary, especially since there was a fire station right next door. 

There is also a fire station right across from Camp Ketcha, he said, but the ambulance sent for him came from somewhere else. “I was told that I was the third cardiac arrest that day in Scarborough, and I was the only one that survived,” Wiley said.  Later, when he was in the hospital, Wiley received a visit from the Scarborough EMS chief who told him, “I don’t usually get to talk to survivors.”

Spreading information about why AEDs are valuable is part of his healing process, Wiley said. His efforts to raise awareness are already paying off in the community. His story was the focus of a segment on Newscenter’s 207 last July.  He recently ran into someone who told him that as a result of the news story, his workplace had installed two AEDs.

After the episode of 207 aired, Wiley said, he started thinking about what might have happened if his cardiac arrest had occurred at Raymond Village Community Church, where he is a member. “I am always there for meetings, dinners, etc.” Wiley said.  “I have even slept in the church vestry as a scout leader.”
The church is also used by the community for a variety of functions: scout meetings and events, concerts sponsored by the Raymond Arts Alliance, community dinners and much more.
With everything that happens in the space, he said, he realized how lucky they’ve been that they haven’t had this issue at the church. Securing a donation of an AED for the church seemed very important, Wiley said.

He began to look for organizations that donated AEDs in New England.  During his research, he came across a website for an organization called In a Heartbeat. When he visited the site, he found a link to his own story. 

He applied for a donation for the church, noticing that although most of their donations had been to youth organizations, they had also made a previous donation to a church. In his application, Wiley noted the number of events that happen for people of all ages at the church. “I even stated that I knew the importance of preventing sudden cardiac arrest as I was the dad in the story on their newsfeed,” he said. 

After a few months of not hearing anything, Wiley called the organization. The founder, Mike Papale, who had experienced cardiac arrest on a basketball court at the age of 17, called back to say they would likely be able to help, but they needed to wait a couple of months until after they held a golf tournament fundraiser. few more months passed, and he hadn’t heard back. Then he wrote an article for the church newsletter centered around the question “Why bother?”  This got him thinking about the donation again, and he decided he would bother, and called once more.  That persistence paid off, and the donation was confirmed. It arrived in late January and was installed at the church on February 1st, 2020.

 Wiley said he took a shot in the dark in asking the In a Heartbeat foundation for a donation, since they hadn’t previously made any donations beyond Massachusetts. The group has donated 124 AEDs to date, Wiley said. Although he hopes the AED at the church never gets used, he said “I’m grateful for the organization and the donation. I hope that people would consider making a donation to that group themselves.” 

To learn more about In a Heartbeat, visit

Saint Joseph’s College students share lessons learned from mission trip to Uganda

By Lorraine Glowczak

Two senior Saint Joseph's College students, Adrienne Dolley and April Benak, participated in a medical mission trip to Uganda during their winter break, leaving on January 4 and returning on January 19. They participated with the Partners for World Health (PWH) organization, traveling with doctors, nurses, and other students. While in Uganda, Dolley and Benak provided education and training to physicians and nurses on non-communicable diseases, medication administration, wound care education, infection control and emergency care.

“This mission’s goal was to help educate women and midwives with the intention of preventing complications during childbirth,” began Benak. “We also provided birthing kits, referred to as ‘Mama” kits, that contained much needed items such as diapers, pads, etc. We worked to ensure that the medical supplies given to the organizations were being used properly.”
Their fifteen-day trip included spending time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in the city
of Kampala (Capital of Uganda) as well as in the regions of Gulu and Manafwa. Dolley and Benak assisted medical staff and parents by teaching them about the proper use of CPAPs as well as taking blood pressures and monitoring babies, alerting doctors and nurses when an infant stopped breathing.

“There were no medical monitors like we have here in the U.S., alerting staff immediately when a premature baby stops breathing - so we were the monitors, walking from incubator to incubator to check on each baby,” explained Dolley. During their visits at the three NICUs, Dolley and Benak would monitor anywhere between 75 to 80 babies at one time. “In some cases, NICUs will have at least 100 babies or more to care for,” Dolley added.

As one can imagine, both Dolley, who plans to become a doctor and Benak, who will be entering into the teaching profession upon graduation in May, learned more than they could ever imagine on this medical mission trip.

It all began by volunteering with Partners for World Health, located in Portland. PWH collects medical supplies and equipment from healthcare facilities, manufacturers, other organizations, and individuals. The supplies and equipment are then sorted, evaluated, repackaged, and prepared for distribution to individuals, communities, and healthcare facilities in need.

“Our work limits the impact on the environment by diverting discarded materials from landfills and provides needed health care resources to the developing world,” as stated on the PWH website. “PWH aims to improve health conditions by sending medical personnel on medical missions to developing countries and educating New England communities about global health issues.”

While volunteering at PWH, both Dolley and Benak decided to become a part of the volunteer travel team and go on a medical mission trip with the organization. They immediately got busy to raise the needed funds by collecting recycled bottles, approaching businesses for support and having a “Hope to Help” auction that included special guest speaker, Elizabeth McLellan, the founder of PWH.

“We learned so much, not only with the trip itself, but through the process of reaching our goals - and it started right here in this community,” began Benak. “We discovered how supportive people are – everything from the Pearson’s CafĂ© [the campus/student cafeteria] who helped us collect the bottles to the Windham, Raymond, Standish and Brunswick* businesses who didn’t hesitate to help in some way. It is really amazing how supportive and encouraging people are.” *(Dolley is from Brunswick).
The positive response towards the students continued in the southern end of the globe. “All the people we met were ridiculously kind,” explained Dolley about those they met in Uganda. “We were offered food and praise and gratitude. They treated us as if we were family. I don’t think I have ever experienced anything like that.”

The two students admitted that there were some challenging experiences they faced during their medical mission trip. “We were cautioned about some things we might see that we wouldn’t see here in the U.S., so we were prepared,” Dolley said. “And, we also got to debrief with fellow PWH volunteers at the end of each day.”

Some of what they witnessed included but not limited to: three or four babies in one incubator, the lack of electrical outlets needed to power the much needed equipment, the lack of communication between medical staff and mothers and the improper use of CPAPs.

“I think what frustrated me the most was the lack of vital sign monitors,” began Dolley. “A baby could have stopped breathing for a second or for a few minutes but there is no way of knowing – and every second counts when a baby discontinues breathing. It is a matter of life and death. You don’t know if a baby has stopped breathing or if they have died.”

Although there were many challenges witnessed during this trip, Benak is taking from the experience the many positives of the medical mission and plans to convert that into educating her future students. “I want to share and teach students about different cultures and the day to day life of those in other countries,” she said. “And the only way for me to do that well is if I experience it myself.”
On her trip to Uganda, Benak focused on the day to day life of transportation, capturing in photos
how families (and animals, and products) are transported from one point to the next. “I’ve labeled this part of my adventure….’On a Boda Boda’”

Benak explained that a boda boda is a very small motorbike, slightly larger than that of an American
moped. “I have seen a family of five on one bike and at various other times have seen a cow, a baby bed, a couch, chickens and crates of eggs being transported on a boda boda,” she exclaimed. Benak has already shared this cultural experience with the fifth-grade students she taught during her student teaching assignment last semester., who initially wanted to be an anesthesiologist, has changed her mind about the direction of her career as a result of the medical mission. “I now want to be a doctor in neonatology, working with newborn infants, especially those preborn or ill,” she said. “But before I attend medical school, I want to take four to five years and continue to participate in various medical mission trips. Once I return and have completed medical school, I want to live in rural Maine and serve a community where medical needs are not met. I want to help those who cannot help themselves.”

To learn more about Partners in World Health or to inquire about volunteering or medical mission trips, peruse their website at

Friday, February 14, 2020

Raymond welcomes new Recreation Department and Director

Joseph Crocker (right)
By Briana Bizier

Raymond residents are eagerly anticipating the latest addition to their town: a new Recreation Department headed by a new Recreation Director. Joseph Crocker, the Town of Raymond’s most recent hire, will begin his tenure leading Raymond’s newly-created Recreation Department later this month.

We’re really excited about this opportunity,” said Don Willard, Raymond’s Town Manager. “It’s an
enormous step forward for the town.”

Originally from Old Orchard Beach, Joseph attended Saint Joseph’s College, where he earned a degree in Exercise Science. He then continued his studies at New England College in New Hampshire, earning an MBA in Sports and Recreation Management. Although he grew up on the Maine coast, Joseph has always felt a connection to the Lakes Region.
My family has been camping in the Lakes Region for 28 years,” Crocker said. “It’s been a special place in my life. I love the area and the community.”

After graduating with his MBA, Crocker went on to teach a Business in Sports Management class at Saint Joseph’s. He also worked for recreation departments in Saco, Auburn, and Kennebunk. Most recently, Crocker held the position of Program Coordinator for the City of Lewiston.

Coming from an urban environment might seem like disparate experience,” Don Willard explained, “but I believe he will fit well with the Raymond municipal ethic. Raymond prides itself on doing a lot with a little as would likely be the case in a small city. We have a fiscally responsible attitude, while also striving to maximize the effectiveness of our programs. Joseph will have that ability.”

Crocker’s time in Lewiston also taught him how to coordinate with the community’s volunteer groups in order to create new programs. “We’ve grown things organically by connecting with outside groups who don’t have the means to grow by themselves,” Crocker explained. As an example, he has helped to coordinate the Lewiston Sparks recreational cheering team, which has become an affordable, entry-level program thanks to the combined efforts of community members and the Lewiston Recreation Department.

Working in Lewiston, Crocker regularly relied on volunteer support. “You definitely have to work as a team,” Joseph said as he explained his plans to work with and strengthen Raymond’s existing recreational programs.

Raymond seems very involved,” Crocker continued, “and the town wants to have someone to be a resource to help with these programs.” Raymond’s existing programs is extremely important to Town Manager Don Willard as well. “We really want to support our active and committed volunteers,” Willard said. “We are depending upon keeping our strong group of volunteers across all our programs fully engaged. This position, and the Recreation Department, will provide program and administrative support as well as
upgrading and maintaining our facilities and working cooperatively with other towns.”

We are also planning to create new programs for adults,” Willard continued. “We want to network with the already active Raymond Age Friendly group and Windham-Raymond Adult Education to get enhanced programming for adults and particularly older adults, as they are a large component of Raymond’s demographic.”

One of the first responsibilities for Raymond’s new Recreation Department is overseeing Tassel Top Park, which is owned by the State of Maine and operated under a long-term lease by the Town of Raymond. “We want to maintain the rustic woodsy aesthetic,” explained Willard, “while possibly creating a new children’s play area at Tassel Top Park. We’re going to expand the opportunities there without compromising the natural beauty.”

For Crocker, there is also a personal connection to Tassel Top Park. A resident of Windham, he and his family have held a seasonal pass to the beach for the past two years. “Tassel Top Park is a real hidden gem,” Crocker said. “My daughter is nine months old, and I’m excited for her to grow up near a beach like that.”

Willard acknowledges that starting a Recreation Department from ground zero is a big job, but he feels confident that Joseph Crocker is up for the task. “He’s got a lot of experience, and he’ll have a lot of input from other active and retired area recreation professionals” Willard said. “Not only does he have the proper qualifications, he has shown tremendous enthusiasm already. I think he is going to be great.”

Crocker echoes Willard’s optimism for Raymond’s new Recreation Department. “It’s very exciting for everybody,” Crocker told me. “As soon as I said yes to the job, I’ve been approached by multiple people reaching out and being excited about the position and the department. That’s definitely what you want when you take a job!”

Joseph Crocker will begin his position as the Director of Raymond’s new Recreation Department on February 18.

Sebago Lake Automotive: Celebrating 100 years of life in vehicle sales and service

Brad, Herbert (holding a picture of his father Victor) and
Mitch Woodbrey
By Lorraine Glowczak

Herbert, Brad and Mitch Woodbrey took a moment to share their memories about the life and times of Sebago Lake Automotive. Their beautiful and poignant tales portray a business involving a lot of hard work, extreme dedication, significant family and friends support and happy customers. It is these qualities that contribute to their century long success.

It all began with World War I behind them and the modern auto industry beginning its boom. The time seemed ripe for Victor Woodbrey and his brother Amos to purchase an auto sales and service business on November 30, 1920.

Woodbrey Brothers was the name of the shop and it was located in Sebago Lake Village in Standish. The brothers remained in business together until Victor purchased his brother’s share of the company a couple of years later, changing the name to Sebago Lake Garage and eventually becoming a Chevrolet dealership in 1928.

Victor had buses he ran for the town of Standish and during World War II he used them to run Sebago Lake Defense Lines that transported workers from Fryeburg to White Rock to the Liberty Shipyard in South Portland.
After Victor’s death in 1949, his son Herbert took over the business in 1950 and owned it until he retired in 1996. Now known as Sebago Lake Automotive, located at 847 Roosevelt Trail in Windham, third generation brothers, Brad and Mitch are the current owners.

Herbert not only worked hard at both the sales and service part of the business but continued with using the buses, contracting with MSAD6 school district. He eventually had a full fleet of 18 buses.
Not only did Herbert work hard at the garage, but he worked hard for the community - giving back as much as he could. He was actively involved as a member of the MSAD6 school board, the Kiwanis Club, the Maine Auto Dealers Association, of which he was once a President… and much more. “I was involved in everything - except for the Standish Board of Selectmen – I didn’t do that,” Herbert laughed.

But perhaps one of his noblest highlights of Herbert’s life is when he was honored with the Time Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year Award.

As with all of life, the business had its up moments, too. Herbert’s professional smarts, hard work and good economical years paid off and allowed Herbert to support three brothers and two sisters as well as his two daughters and two sons through college. “It was probably one of my greatest accomplishments,” he choked back tears.
Herbert then stated that owning his business was another achievement he is proud of. “We made it through it all and somehow succeeded, despite the many challenges,” Herbert said thoughtfully, then adding, “I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful wife who was my greatest partner. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Herbert met his wife, Audrey, at a dance in North Windham in 1949 and they married the following year on April 2, 1950. She passed away in 2017.

Herbert officially retired from the business in 1996, stepping back to let his sons, Brad and Mitch continue the Sebago Lake Automotive success. “I now consider myself a member of the Board of Directors,” he smiled.

Brad and Mitch are now the sole owners who were born into the industry. “If you talk to people in car sales, almost everyone will tell you that they grew up in the business,” stated Brad, who heads the sales department. “But we really DID ‘grow up in the business’”.

From the moment the younger Woodbrey Brothers (along with their two sisters) were born, the original location with its garage and car sales lot was just steps outside their home.
They both shared stories of working alongside their dad to help keep the shop organized and cleaned. Whether it was painting the buildings, sweeping the floors or counting the inventory – they began working at a young age.
But that didn’t mean the brothers did not have fun while growing up. “Sometimes we would play on the creepers and have oil gun fights,” Brad shared one of their many childhood shenanigans
After going to college, they returned to help their dad. Brad received his degree in Business Administration from the University of Maine at Orono (UMO). He also attended a six-week course in automotive management at Northwood Institute as well as the Chevrolet School of Merchandising and Management.

Mitch, a graduate of UMO with a degree in Agriculture Mechanization (with a second degree in Business), also attended the Chevrolet School of Merchandising and Management now heads the service department.

He admitted his dream was to become a farmer. “When dad asked me to work at the family business, I hadn’t ‘found’ my farm yet, so – I said, ‘Okay, I’ll try it.’ My mother’s brother, Uncle Allen “Ace” Kimball, was an auto guru and service manager at that time. He taught me everything I know today.”
Much like their father and grandfather before them, Brad and Mitch have seen their own ups and downs as owners of Sebago Lake Automotive. The greatest hardship occurred when General Motors went bankrupt during the recession that began in 2008. It was at this point GM eliminated the contract for franchise sales at many dealerships, including Sebago Lakes Automotive, leaving a huge hole in their income base.

“That time was by far the most stressful experience we both had,” Mitch admitted. “Not only did we experience a great financial loss, but it affected our work family, too and that only added to our worries.”

Much as dedication and hard work are a part of the Woodbrey family genetics, giving up when times are tough is not. They, along with their loyal and dedicated employees, customers and friends – Sebago Lake Automotive pulled through and is busy as ever today, continuing trusted auto sales and repair service they have been known for this past century., in addition to Brad and Mitch – you will always be greeted by their friendly work staff. And, Herbert, too. Herbert is there at least three days a week to spend time with his adult sons and the rest of the Sebago Lake Automotive family.

When asked what advice Herbert offers his sons or others who might be considering opening their own business, he replied, “I try to never give too much advice. Sometimes the best experience is making your own mistakes. Believe me, I have made way too many of my own – and I definitely learned a lot from them.”

Congratulations to Sebago Lake Automotive for serving the community’s automotive needs so well. Happy 100th!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

WMS student to participate in a Nike sponsored Maine basketball team to play nationally

Creighty Dickson (front row, far left) with the Blue Wave Elite team
By Matt Pascarella

Like many kids his age, Windham Middle School seventh grader, Creighty Dickson loves basketball. His dad played in college and Dickson said that interest in the sport was passed down to him.

Recently, the Maine Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) travel team became Maines’ first ever, and only
Nike sponsored basketball team at any level. They will play in a national tournament taking place in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland.

The team is part of an elite league, sponsored by Nike called Made Hoops. They were nominated for the 32-team league based of Dickson’s team record and tournament results from the previous year, as well as directors seeing them play. Andy Bedard, a Maine Basketball Hall of Famer, has been coaching a majority of the group since they were in the fourth grade. Dickson joined the team last year. The team is made up of athletes from multiple towns including Newport, New Gloucester, Portland and Westbrook.

Dickson has been playing some form of basketball since he was six years old. He would play in the backyard and stated basketball started getting real for him in the last four years. He started playing on
the travel AAU team two years ago and joined the Made Hoops league last year.

The tournament is structured into four different tournaments played in different locations, with the top eight teams making it to the championship. Each tournament has a multiple number of games; Dickson and his team have already played in two of the tournaments and have a record of six wins, one loss. They’ll play in Washington D.C. on February 8th and 9th to compete in the third tournament.

“It feels good being on the best team in Maine, but also you have to be mindful of how hard you have to work to get on this team. Our team is like family; we’re together all the time, on the court and we’re always there for each other,” explained Dickson.“This group is special,” added Bedard. “They have all the pieces to the puzzle that coaches dream
about. They all are driven, unselfish, and just know how to play together and win. Most importantly, their character and the way they all represent themselves off the court and in their communities is most impressive.”

Dickson is raising money to help cover the cost of the tournament expenses. If you would like to donate:

Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing will help seniors stay in their homes

Board members of the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller
Center for Housing.
By Elizabeth Richards

A bucket list bike ride has inspired the creation of a local chapter of a global nonprofit organization, The Fuller Center for Housing. Sebago Lakes Fuller Center for Housing is a collaboration between six partner organizations, with 12 founding board members.

Several years ago, Bill Turner created a bucket list, which included riding across the US on a bicycle. Looking for possible rides, he came across the Fuller Center Bike Adventure, where participants ride long distances and build or repair houses along the way. His first year out, he rode from San Francisco to Santa Fe via Salt Lake City, Turner said.

The following year, he rode from Portland, OR to Portland, ME, having what he called a “great, uplifting experience” riding 4,000 miles in ten weeks, with six build days along the route. When he returned in the fall, Faith Lutheran Church was undergoing a process to determine what mission they wanted to take on. He suggested launching a Fuller Center, since there were none north of New York. and Lorraine Glowczak, another member of the congregation, began making presentations to other faith-based organizations to see if they could garner interest in becoming a local covenant partner. The result was six organizations coming together: North Windham United Church of Christ, Faith Lutheran Church, Windham Hill United Church of Christ, Raymond Village Community Church, Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, and St. Joseph’s College.

The next summer, before Turner left for another five-week ride, the founders had a meeting to discuss
the steps involved in becoming a covenant partner. By the time he returned, the group had elected board officers. By fall, the group was up and running, with regular meetings and committees in place.

Board president Diane Dunton Bruni said the group came together quickly, establishing the chapter, writing by-laws and articles of incorporation, and creating committees to reach out to families in need and to find volunteers, all within six months. Now, they’re ready to spread the word about what they’re doing to the community.“When Bill and Lorraine came and spoke at North Windham United Church of Christ, I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved,” Dunton Bruni said. She has a long history of non-profit
involvement, having worked with the Good Shepard Food Bank for many years. When she heard about the Fuller Center, she said, she knew that it was exactly what she’d been looking for.
Sebago Lakes Fuller Center for Housing will do repairs rather than building homes, at least initially, with a focus on helping older people remain in their homes.

“It is so important to have people be able to stay safely in their homes and to know that they don’t have to leave at a time that they just want to have the memories and feel comforted by what’s around them,” she said.

The Fuller Center for Housing was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, who also founded Habitat for Humanity. “Millard Fuller talked a lot about hope and how hope is essential in life,” Dunton Bruni said. “What we are doing is we are giving hope.”

Founding members had a range of reasons for getting involved. Nancy Foran, Pastor of the Raymond Village Church, said she had led mission trips centered around housing rehabilitation in Tennessee and other parts of Maine. These experiences were one reason why she was interested in the Fuller Center, she said. “This is an opportunity to do something right in our neighborhood.”

The Lakes Region, she added, is a sort of “dead zone” when it comes to services. “To have an organization that is going to really focus on the Lakes Region, I think it will be great,” Foran said.
With many seniors living in old housing stock, there can be many problems with their homes. “I’m really hopeful that this organization can bridge some gaps there,” Foran said.

Reverend Pat Bessey of the Unity Center for Spiritual Growth said the group decided to focus in the
towns of Standish, Raymond and Windham because these areas don’t have the same level of support as other areas. “That’s where we felt that we could be the most effective,” she said.

Steve McFarland, Director of Career Development at St. Joseph’s College, said “The need is just incredibly obvious everywhere you go in the community.” There are many people unable to maintain their homes at the level they’d like to, he said. “We’ve got a lot of caring people in these communities that want to reach out and help neighbors in that way.”

The nonprofit aligns very well with the mission and values of St. Joseph’s College as well, McFarland said. “Community and compassion are the two values that I think it most closely connects to…I think it just very much aligns with who we are as an organization, and it gives us that opportunity to get out there and do it,” he said.
Gwen Rogers of the Windham Hill United Church of Christ said the church was excited when they were approached about the Fuller Center. “Giving back to the segment of the population, the seniors who are trying to remain in their homes, was an untapped segment that I think we thought we could help with,” she said. “If you just drive around the roads of Windham and Raymond you see homes that you know need a little sprucing up, and people just need some help doing that.”

Bessey said that she saw getting involved as an opportunity to broaden their cooperation with other faith-based organizations. “Also, part of our mission is service and creating community. This fit that
criteria so well, because not only are we going to have an opportunity to do service through volunteering, but we’re also going to be creating community because we’ll be interacting with people from other organizations.”

Dunton Bruni said the organization will partner with town offices, churches in the area, and any other organizations that can help them find people in need of help.

Initial funding for the nonprofit came from each partner organization contributing a set amount, a matching contribution from the Fuller Center for Housing, and $5,000 raised from Turner’s most recent Fuller Center Bike Adventure. The group is also discussing having their own one-day bike ride around Sebago Lake in September to raise funds.

margebarker173@gmail.comOne of the things that is different about the Fuller Center, Turner said, is that some smaller renovation projects are done through their “Greater Blessings Program,” where recipients of the work commit to
paying back what is spent on their project over a time period they can afford, with no interest. In this way, the initial money raised can become a revolving fund for future projects, Turner said.

“Our mission is going to be simple,” Dunton Bruni said. “It’s giving hope to others, and carrying on the legacy of Millard Fuller and being able to help others feel safe in their homes and giving them dignity. It is done with an opportunity to pay it forward in a way that they can. When you have hope, then you look to the future.”

Friday, January 31, 2020

Rev. Nancy Foran, Pastor at Raymond Village Community Church set to retire in April

Rev. Nancy Foran
By Lorraine Glowczak

“I walked through the backdoor of ministry quite by accident,” joked Rev. Nancy Foran of Raymond Village Community Church. “The last thing I ever wanted was to get a master’s degree and speak in front of people.”

Although she never intended to enter the ecclesiastic field, it is where she inadvertently found her calling. After approximately 40 years as a clergywoman, with a little over 14 years of service at the Raymond Village Community Church United Church of Christ, she has recently decided to step down and enter the next phase of her life. Rev. Foran’s last day at the pulpit will be Easter Sunday, April 12th.  She will be the longest serving pastor in the history of that church.

Originally from New Jersey, Rev. Foran received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from Carleton College in 1971, but as she puts it, “the religion store wasn’t hiring that year.” As a recent college graduate with no job and very little skills, she attended secretarial school. “It was a program for people just like me – we were all graduates who had degrees in sociology, religion, etc.”

After gaining a secretarial certification, she worked as a secretary in the music department at Montclair State College and as a Howard Johnson waitress on weekends. But after a year, she realized the office life was not for her. weekend, she visited a friend who was a student at Yale Divinity School. “I went there as a visitor and returned home as an optimistic future student.” Rev. Foran applied, was accepted and received her Master of Divinity degree three years later

“It was an exciting time to be at Yale,” she said. “When I entered the program in 1972, only a handful of the student population were female,” Rev. Foran said. “Three years later, women clergy students had increased to approximately 50 percent.”

After moving to and living in Washington D.C. for a couple of years, she and her husband, Joe, moved to Maine when he was offered a position with the Natural Resource Council. Making Hallowell their home base at the time and later Cumberland, Rev. Foran acted as an interim pastor for various churches, while raising a daughter and two sons. She eventually became the Elder Chaplain at First Congregational Church United Church of Christ South Portland.

She accepted the call to be the part-time Pastor of Raymond Village Community Church fourteen years ago. She and Joe moved to and still make their home in Naples.

The highlight of her career was the unanticipated delight she experienced in her role as an Elder Chaplain. “I had always envisioned myself working with the youth, but I realized how much I truly enjoyed the amazing lives, stories and wisdom the elderly have shared with me,” began Rev. Foran. 

“By the time they reach their 80s and 90s, they have experienced so many illnesses, death and great disappointments – but yet – they all say their lives have been a blessing despite the tragedies and hardships. Working with the elderly was and continues to be an unexpected joy.”

Rev. Foran also shares her fond memories in her latest position at Raymond Village Community Church. “I am amazed how much we, as a congregation, did together.” recalled the many activities, community gatherings and journeys in which the church has participated as opening their doors to Raymond community events, collaborating with other organizations to provide more inclusiveness and support among the citizens of the town.

“One of the things I think we have enjoyed the most about Rev. Nancy is her approach to her sermons,” began church member Caryl Gilman. “She has been here over 14 years and the sermons evolved over the years to include television, photographs, music, various community activities and mission trips – whether they were to Honduras or to Cherryfield, Maine. Whatever approach she took, she inspired and spiritually stimulated us.”

Gilman, herself, admitted that she will greatly miss Rev. Foran’s quiet, thoughtful perspective that always came with a touch of humor.

Church member, Nancy Yates also shared her view on the pastor’s retirement. “I think the congregation will miss the sense of genuine caring that Rev. Nancy has demonstrated as our pastor, not just for the members of the congregation, but for how they relate to each other and to people in the community. She has reminded us of our duty as Christians to help those less fortunate, not just those who have less money, but those being abused by others having some sort of power over them. She has been instrumental in gaining support for Mission Trips, and has gone personally on many of them, whether to Appalachian Tennessee or Downeast Maine.  Her creativity in decorating the sanctuary and in how she put together special services, such as the Maundy Thursday evening service, will be missed as well.  Her passion for social justice will long be remembered by me and, I would expect, others.” 

As with all careers, there have been some difficulties and Rev. Foran shares one that continues to concern her. “The biggest challenge I have faced is how to make the church relevant in today’s secular culture,” she said. “It’s a challenge for many small churches as we strive to be inclusive, radically welcoming of all and being supportive of economic justice.”

Turning 70 this past year, Rev. Foran states that her retirement will not include watching soap operas and eating bon-bons. “I have so much I want to do. I plan to keep busy.”

She will start by finishing a book about the film industry beginning with the 1930s and 40s (that include the window card era – a form of postcard/advertisement of the time). It is a book she started in collaboration with her father before he passed away about a year ago.

“I have also been told that I should publish my sermons, so I will be busy with that, too.”
Rev. Foran will continue to volunteer in a variety of organizations including her fundraising efforts with Susan G. Komen Foundation and their 60-mile, three day walk-a-thon to fight breast cancer. She also plans to do some travelling that will include visiting their adult children; Heather who lives in Portland, a son Padraic and his wife of East Boston and their son Tim and his wife of San Francisco.

But what she is looking forward to the most is the arrival of her first grandchild. “Padraic and Megan are expecting in May and I can’t wait to wrap my arms around my granddaughter.”

Here’s to the next chapter of your life, Rev. Foran. May it be filled with unexpected joys and adventures.

Windham’s new public works building is cost-effectively increasing safety, efficiency and morale

Aaron Gant, Michael Constantine, Doug Fortier, Brian Morin, Nate Johnson, Mike Doucette and Ethan Gladish (sitting)
By Lorraine Glowczak

Public facilities are important to municipalities and their citizens as they ensure basic needs are met with the goal that it is done so in the most affordable manner. The new public works building, located on 185 Windham Center Road, officially opened its doors in April 2019, and is already demonstrating the positive economic impacts to the Town of Windham. With that comes other important contributions to both the residents and its employees.

“Since we’ve been in this new building, we’ve seen an increase in efficiency, safety – and even morale,” stated Doug Fortier, Public Works Director.

Fortier further explained that with the 30,000 square foot building which includes, but is not limited to, the wash bay, maintenance garage, men and women’s locker room, RSU14 and Public Works offices have improved productivity in more ways than one. example, Highway Supervisor, Michael Constantine’s major focus for the winter is the plow trucks. He explained how the addition of the garage has contributed to quicker response time during the start of snowstorms.

“Before the new building, we had to first load the trucks with salt, let the truck idle to warm up and defrost the windows and clean the snow off the truck,” began Constantine. “With the new building, we can have the salt loaded and parked in the bay. As soon as we get in to work, all we need to do is start the truck and leave. It could take up to or over an hour before the new building, but now we can get on the road much more quickly and do so without wasting diesel fuel by idling the trucks or damaging cold hydraulic systems. It’s a win-win situation.”

Another positive contributing factor is the large fuel tanks. “We now have a 10,000-gallon fuel pump on site,” began Constantine. “Before, we only had a 3,000-gallon tank. With larger fuel tanks, the chance of running out of fuel has been eliminated.”

The cost-savings in this upgrade has made a big difference. “Now the town is able to purchase a larger quantity of fuel at a cheaper rate,” said Fortier. “The cost-savings in just this area alone has been substantial.”

Safety is another profitable and efficiency factor as a result of the new facility. The garage is large enough to not only house a crane that moves heavy equipment but there has been the addition of vehicle lifts. “We used to crawl under the vehicles with a ‘creeper’ and lay on our backs for hours,” explained Nate Johnson, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor. “Working on a creeper underneath the vehicles was not as efficient as having a vehicle up on a lift.”

Johnson went on to say that now the maintenance crew can easily access needed tools immediately and are able to assist one another when met with challenges. “There is so much to know about mechanical repair that not one person can have all the knowledge,” Johnson said. “Now, the RSU14 and town mechanics can collaborate our expertise in a certain area and share specialty tools, which is another cost-savings to both the school and the town.”

As for the crane that has been added to the garage area, it comes with many benefits besides safety. “The most important benefit with the addition of the crane is that it only takes one person to move a heavy object,” began Johnson. “Before, we had to use either a forklift or a bobcat, which would require between three or four people to help guide the driver. Now, we can move heavy equipment quickly and safely.”

Another time and cost-saving addition to the new facility is the indoor vehicle wash. Since the public works building sits next to a waterway, the runoff from washing vehicles outside is environmentally detrimental and is against DEP standards. Therefore, the town made arrangements with the Town of Gorham Public Works to occasionally wash vehicles in their wash bays.

“Now that we have our own wash bays, we able to clean the vehicles much more frequently, thus potentially extending the life of the vehicle and helping to eliminate premature repairs due to rust and corrosion.” Stated Fortier. Gant, Assistant Transportation Director for RSU14 added that the mechanics for both the RSU14 and public works are able to do more inhouse repairs on the buses due to having more workspace, relying less on outside vendors. Some outside vendors can charge up to $120 per hour.
The Building and Grounds Department is also seeing the benefits of the new facility. “The town is able to purchase product in bulk due to the fact there is more storage space, leading to a better price” stated Building and Grounds Supervisor, Brian Morin.

Perhaps the most unexpected positive outcome of the public works building is increased morale among the employees. “There are so many ‘little’ things that have contributed to increase self-esteem and optimism,” began Constantine. “There are now male and female bathrooms, the addition of locker rooms that come with mesh lockers that will help dry our clothes when they get wet – and most of all – we now have showers. During long duration snow storms of up to 20 to 40 hours, crewmembers can take showers and change into fresh clothes. Mechanics can also shower when they are exposed to contaminants, such as oil and gas, during repairs. 

Constantine added that even having a breakroom has increased morale. “We actually get to communicate with one another and help each other out when there are work challenges. No one feels isolated. We’ve become almost like a family and this has made a lot of difference in our working lives.”

Nadeau continued, “We are investing in our future, creating a blueprint of success for the town and those who live here.”

Thursday, January 23, 2020

“Mary Poppins Jr.”: Performance practically perfect in every way

Ava Lamkin as Mary Poppins
By Emma Bennett
Windham Middle School’s production of “Mary Poppins Jr.” not only showed us the hard medicine of deeper underlying themes, it treated us to a large spoonful of talent. The troupe brought an adaptation of the Disney classic straight to the stage. The audience was blown away, not from the winds in the East, but from the extraordinary talent illuminating the stage on their opening night. The winter storm that canceled school, bringing inches and inches of snow, couldn’t stop the show from going on.

The director, Suzy Cropper, took the time to interview amid all the hustle and bustle happening backstage before the show. Cropper, who’d been a musical director for Windham Middle School for many years, was ecstatic to be able to direct the first production of Mary Poppins Jr. that Windham Middle School had ever seen.

“I have loved it. It’s been fun working with the kids,” Cropper said with a smile. “And it’s been fun to see their creativity come out as we work through scenes and come up with ways that are able to tell our story.” to Cropper, several weeks ago, they took time during rehearsal to learn more about the Edwardian Era in 1910 - the period in which the musical is set. They learned about class distinctions, the contrast between rich and poor that is sometimes overlooked and overshadowed by gleam and glamor. It’s plain to see that the character development from it has paid off.

“I’m so proud of this cast and this wonderful show that they’ve put together,” said Lucy Hatch, assistant director. “I love seeing stuff come to life. It’s very different from being onstage.” Hatch’s history with the director stretches way back to third grade when she’d attended Mainstage Academy, a musical theater school run by Cropper. Hatch still has music lessons with her.

The energy backstage was invigorating as cast members shared their thoughts moments before opening. A strong unspoken unity projected into the audience as if from one big family.

Ava Lamkin, graced with the leading role of Mary Poppins, expressed the same sentiment. “My castmates are really sweet. When somebody’s sad, they’re really uplifting. We all just got along really well. It didn’t matter who we were because, once again, Mary Poppins taught us how to be kind.”
Sixth grader Anna Lane, who played a park stroller and a honeybee, shared, “Everyone’s really nice and supportive with each other, trying to help people out with their lines, their makeup, and their hair.” Her first show with Windham Middle School, she’d also done shows with Windham Center Stage, Gorham Arts Alliance, and Schoolhouse. She’d been inspired into acting very young with Mainstage. some of the first timers who’d never been on stage before, Karly Day and Braedyn Bean expressed their experiences. “I’ve had a lot of fun with my friends and I love dancing and singing. It’s just been really cool seeing it all come together,” said Day. All these years, she’d been watching plays, thinking she’d love to be in one and decided to finally try out.

 Braedyn Bean, trying out with some encouragement from his mother, has had a great time. “I might do a lot more plays in the future, but I think it’s good to start and progress.” With the role of a policeman, he had only one line, but he was proud that he had received a speaking part.
Among the many great scenes, we were captivated by the choreography in 

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and impressed with the actors using ASL. Also, be sure to purchase a light-up wand at the concession stand at intermission and join the actors during a special moment of the play! Each purchased wand is used to support Maine Inside Out, a nonprofit organization collaborating to hold theater programs inside Maine’s juvenile correctional facility and youth developmental centers. Truly inspiring!

Another highlight of the night was seeing Mary Poppins fly! Bert, played by Molly Platti, even did front and back flips in mid-air. Flying by Foy is the company responsible for sending characters flying across the stage. Bryce Cropper, the person in charge of ropes, stated, “We double check everything to make sure everything is safe.” This definitely made the show that much more special.
The night ended with much well-earned praise from the audience. “I’m blown away, I really am,” said an audience member on the way out the door. “I would say it was above expectations,” said another. Kim McBride, assistant principal at the middle school, thought “it was fabulous from start to finish.” Proud father Chuck Lomonte shared, “I thought the show was absolutely exhilarating.”

A number of WMS and WHS individuals should be recognized for their time and effort in putting this show together: C.J. Payne (sound and lighting designer), Jason Lanoie (set designer), Tricia Murray (costume designer), April Monte (choreographer), Diane Hancock (music director), Karen Lane (producer), family volunteers working behind the scenes, and many others. Also, understudies worked hard to learn their parts and stood by in case they were needed.

The show, as a whole, was completely enjoyable - “practically perfect in every way!” There really is only one word to describe it: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.