Friday, February 28, 2020

Raymond’s Boston Post Cane Award recipient shares memories of a life well lived

Teresa "Tess" Ingraham
By Lorraine Glowczak

In 1909, as part of a publicity act, The Boston Post newspaper presented gold-headed walking sticks, known as the Boston Post Cane, to 431 New England towns. The stipulation was that the cane be given to the oldest citizen for use as long as he or she lived. Although, The Post stopped its circulation over 60 years ago, the tradition continues in many Northeastern municipalities, including right here in Raymond.

The most recent awardee, Teresa “Tess” Ingraham was presented the Boston Cane by Town Selectman, Rolf Olson at the Raymond Town Hall on Thursday, January 30th. Tess, who will soon be celebrating her 99th birthday on May 29, shared some of her story with us.

“My children keep reminding me that I will soon be turning 100 and that I have seen a lot of changes in that time,” Tess stated, “I don’t think much about my age but it’s kind of amazing when I do think about it. Wow! I’m almost 100. And, my children are right, I have seen and experienced quite a bit in my lifetime.” in 1921 in Westbrook, Ingraham was one of seven children born to a French-Canadian mother and a Scottish father. “I am so lucky to have been a part of a family whose parents loved each other and were content. My brother and sisters – we all got along so well – we were not only family, we were like friends, too.” Tess and her only living sister, twelve years her junior who lives in Westbrook, still get together once a week for shopping, lunch and coffee.

There have been many changes she has seen throughout her lifetime and Tess recalls the milk, ice and bakery delivery men who would supply these products on a weekly basis. “We also had a rag man who would stop by our house every week to purchase rags that would be recycled to make used clothing.”

Tess also recollects the time when one had to go through an operator to make a phone call. “We would lift the receiver and the operator would come on and say, ‘Number, please.’ I still remember our phone number. It was 56J.”

While growing up, the family would spend summer months at Crescent Lake in Raymond, not far from where she currently lives. Although she has moved around the U.S. and lived in France, enjoying all the places she has resided, it is Raymond where she feels her heart is most at home. graduating high school in 1940 and with World War II in full swing, Tess worked at S.D. Warren in the main office. During that time, most of the products made at the company went toward the war effort.

“It was really a scary time and we did without a lot. Because many products went toward the war, each family was allotted a certain number of coupons because the supply was limited,” she continued. “These coupons that were distributed by the government would allow us to purchase things like sugar, shoes, clothing, etc. and if you didn’t have a coupon when you needed something – you did without.” Tess also recalled the blackout regulations imposed during WWII, requiring all windows and doors be covered at night with heavy curtains to prevent the escape of light that might aid enemy aircraft.

But the war eventually ended, and it was on the evening of VJ Day that she met her future husband, Henry “Hank” Ingraham, who was introduced to her by sister. “You know that famous photograph of the sailor and woman kissing in the street on VJ Day?” she asked. “Well, that could have been us. There was so much celebration and excitement that the war was finally over. The streets in Portland
were filled with people – the traffic was stopped completely.”

Marrying in 1946, Hank remained in the armed forces specializing in medical supplies and, as a result, the family relocated often to various U.S. cities with a three-year assignment in France. “We moved to France ten years after the war,” she said. “I could write a book just about my experience there.”

While stationed overseas in the mid-1950s, Tess and Hank were raising three of their four sons, two of which were school age. (Their fourth son was born in 1962). Except for living a few months in a French village apartment, the family moved to the military base when their “home” was ready to be occupied. “It was actually the size of a small camper,” she said. “But I loved living on the base to be closer to other military families who we could connect with.”

Connect with others, they did. Tess and Hank loved to entertain, so they hosted many gatherings in their small home and often would join other couples at the Officer’s Club on Saturday evenings. “We also helped each other out,” Tess said, giving one example of assisting one another build an additional room to their individual trailers to create a bigger living/bedroom space.
While living in France, she got to tour Germany including the city of Berlin. “It was just ten years after the war. Berlin had been completely bombed and the city was flat, and very cold and empty. It felt very scary and we couldn’t wait to get out of there.”

Other than seeing the desolation of Berlin, Tess remembers fondly the beauty of France. “Poppies in spring,” she said. “It was beautiful. Just breathtaking.”

After their time in France, Hank was assigned and stationed in Bangor, Maine in the early 1960s where their fourth son was born. In 1963, Hank retired from the armed forces and they moved to Bridgton where Hank was hired to be the Administrator of the newly built hospital there. They lived in Bridgton for twelve years, eventually relocating to Massachusetts where Hank was offered a job at another hospital. They stayed there until
his second retirement. Upon their return to Maine, they purchased a home in Raymond 36 years ago, where Tess remains.

During retirement, they travelled some and enjoyed friends and family which currently consist of not only her sons but ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. “In the late 1980s, we hopped on a bus and traveled the U.S., visiting all the friends we met while in the service,” she said. “We just purchased a ticket and went from city to city, ending in California where we spent some time with one of our sons who lives there with his family. The trip took us about a month, and we had the best time.”

Reading books and bird watching were some of their favorite shared activities. In fact, they were both avid readers and Tess explained that she was always known as Teresa until she married Hank. “He loved the book, ‘Tess of the Storm Country’ and when we met and married, he started calling me Tess. It caught on and the only person who calls me Teresa now is my sister-in-law.”

Tess volunteered during their retirement years, volunteering at the Raymond Village Library and at Portland’s Mercy Hospital gift shop. It wasn’t until the age of 95 that she decided to step back and retire from her volunteering efforts.

Hank passed away at the age of 84. “We were married for 60 years,” Tess said. “And, we got to have 25 years of retirement together. I feel very blessed to have been in a marriage filled with support and love.”

Besides the death of her husband, her oldest son passed away as a result of cancer at the age of 63.
As for advice, her guidance is simple. “Live one day at a time. Do what you want. Eat what you want,” she began. “I never went on a fad diet. If I wanted to lose a little weight than I simply ate a little less.” She admits that she didn’t have to worry about weight much and that she has been blessed with great genes and is a very healthy person.

Tess also advises to think positive. “Everything is going to be okay. You have to remember that and not let the negativity stop you from being happy. Just think positive.”

But her greatest words of wisdom? “Live your life and forget your age!”

Congratulations Tess Ingraham for a life well lived!

Windham resident to begin co-hosting on Coast 93.1 early morning radio program

Kelly Towle
By Elizabeth Richards

What started as an opportunity to promote her business turned into a brand-new career for Windham resident Kelly Towle, who was recently selected to join the morning show for Coast 93.1.

Towle founded Plucked Fresh Salsa with her husband Jason, and their business partner Chris Fawcett joined them in late 2015.  Building a brand is difficult, she said, especially when they were doing everything themselves, including sales and marketing; accounting; the production of 3-6,000 pounds of salsa per week; and labeling, filling and packing the jars. “I’m always trying to get our name out there,” Towle said. 

Towle, who regularly listens to Coast 93.1, heard them talking about filling Eva’s seat while Eva was on vacation. She thought that would be a good opportunity to advertise the company while also having a good time and embracing her love for music.

Towle was selected as one of the participants and spent four hours on air with Blake. As she was leaving that morning, she said, a couple of the managers approached her to say she’d done a great
job, was funny, and seemed to have good chemistry with Blake.

She thanked them and told them in passing that if they ever needed someone, she’d had a great time and would come back and do it again. She never thought anything would come of that, she said, so the email she received a couple of weeks later was totally unexpected.

In that email, one of the managers let her know that Eva was retiring, and they had held the “fill the seat” event to see if they could find someone who clicked.  “They thought Blake and I together was a great fit,” she said, and they asked if she would be interested in applying for the position.“I was shocked.  I have two kids and own my own business…I hadn’t been in the corporate world for six or seven years,” Towle said. But after she thought about what a great opportunity this could be for her, she emailed back that she was willing to talk about it.

After a few weeks of going through the interview process along with other candidates, Towle was hired to join the show. As of March 2nd, she will be a full-time radio personality.  She’ll be on the air Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., along with doing appearances and endorsements, she said. starting full time, Towle has been on the air with both Eva and Blake to transition and make sure listeners understand that everyone is happy about it, and it’s a good thing for all.  “Eva’s been there for 15 years. She’s moving to Nashville and she’s going to have the time of her life,” Towle said.

This new gig has prompted some nerves, Towle said. “I want to be sure I balance everything and still be a good mom…I just need to get used to it. I think after a few weeks I’ll get into this new groove and start this new chapter,” she said. 

February vacation was a good test run, Towle said, since she was not only gone in the morning, but her kids, 7 and 15, weren’t going to school.  She has a great support system, she said, that includes her husband, and both her parents and his parents.

https://www.schoolspring.comShe’s really excited about her new career, Towle said, but Plucked Fresh Salsa won’t disappear. The plan for 2020 was already that she would step back from production and focus on sales and marketing. Because she’ll be out of work by noon, she’ll still have the opportunity to meet with customers as needed, she said.

“It was good timing,” Towle said. “If this was years ago, there would have been no way, but it’s just perfect timing. It’s like it was meant to happen.” 
Plucked Fresh Salsa is available in a couple hundred locations in the northeast, including Hannaford and Whole Foods stores.

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.”