Friday, September 27, 2019

Raymond residents honor Betty McDermott at dedication ceremony

Eagle Scout Jamie Louko, who built the gazebo in
Betty McDermott's honor, shared his memories of the well loved volunteer
By Briana Bizier        

Can one person truly make a difference in their community? Last Saturday, the answer to that question was a resounding yes as the Raymond Village Library dedicated their new gazebo to the memory of long-time Raymond resident Betty McDermott and the spirit of community service that she embodied.

A devoted volunteer and advocate for Raymond, McDermott served the town in many capacities. She was a member of Raymond’s Board of Selectmen for nine years, serving as the Chair for two of those years. She was also a charter member of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, and she served as the Treasurer of the Raymond Women’s Club, which built and ran the Raymond Village Library.

kmorrellandsons@gmail.comThis library exists because of Betty,” Sheila Bourque, head of Raymond Village Library’s Board of Directors, told a crowd of over sixty people at Saturday’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Sheila praised the efforts of local volunteers not only in the library by also in the Raymond Recreation program, the Raymond Lions Club, and the Raymond Arts Alliance.

These programs are all made possible by the efforts of our volunteers,” Sheila said.

Maine State Senator Bill Diamond and state Representative Jessica Fay also praised Betty’s service.

To be honest, I was pretty intimidated by her,” Fay admitted as the audience laughed. “Betty was smart, powerful, and had the courage of her convictions.” Fay also applauded Betty’s extensive service. “Volunteers hold our community together,” she concluded.

Don Willard, Raymond’s current Town Manager, echoed Jessica’s assessment that Betty McDermott could be intimidating. However, he also spoke of his close relationship with the McDermott family. “I consider myself a surrogate McDermott,” Willard said.

Willard recounted several of the many projects McDermott helped to advance, from extending the water line to improving Route 302 to constructing the new fire station and elementary school. “Betty loved the town, she had a vision for the town, and she wanted to move the town forward,” Willard told the crowd as he stood in front of the gazebo dedicated to McDermott’s memory. “She really tried to make a difference.”

Frank McDermott remembers his wife
This new gazebo was built over the summer by Raymond Scout Jamie Louko, along with the members of BSA Troop 800, as part of Louko’s Eagle Scout project.

When I thought about my childhood,” Louko said at the dedication, “I spent every weekend here at the library. There was no doubt in my mind that my project should be here. I want kids to have the same great experience I had.”

Betty McDermott was also a part of Louko’s childhood. Louko lives next door to the McDermott family, and he told the audience that he remembered selling popcorn to Betty as a Scout fundraiser.
We live in a very rural part of Raymond,” Frank McDermott, Betty’s husband, explained. “And Jaimie was the only kid who ever came to our house for Halloween.”’s oldest son, George also recounted his memories of her involvement in the library, from organizing rummage sales to their family’s frequent visits to the library’s previous location. Just like Jamie Louko, the Scout who built the gazebo, George shared fond memories of childhood afternoons spent at the Raymond Village Library looking for the newest Hardy Boys book. Thanks to the efforts of Betty, Jaime, and the many volunteers who are following in their footsteps, the next generation of Raymond children will be able to enjoy their favorite books in the shade of the library’s outdoor gazebo.

This gazebo is not just for Betty,” Frank McDermott declared shortly before cutting the red ribbon and officially opening the new structure. “This is for anyone who’s ever donated their time. People ask, ‘What can I do?’ You tell them: ‘You can volunteer.’”

The Betty McDermott Memorial Gazebo outside the Raymond Village Library at 3 Meadow Road is open to the public. If you would like to check out a book to read while you enjoy the gazebo, the library is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

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