Stockton Springs Report
By the time the paper goes to print, hopefully the town will have dug out from the biggest winter storm we have seen in a while. Nemo did not take us unprepared and we all know that winter storms are a part of Maine life. It is a time when our volunteer efforts and our tax-based services pay off and safely guide us to spring. If you see the road crew, George, Bruce or Horace, or the town manager or select board members, please offer your appreciation for all they do.
The town is still looking for a harbormaster for the 2013 Season. For a job description and an employment application, contact the town manager at 567-3404 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Searsport District Middle School & High School Parents, Teachers and Community meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. in the SDMS/SDHS library. Please join the dynamic group of parents, educators and community members who are revolutionizing educational opportunities in our schools.
Although the library had to cancel its Feb. 9 income tax help session, it remains open all winter. The tax service is one of many offerings provided by the all-volunteer staff. The inter-library loan program keeps us connected to the Bangor Library, as well as many other libraries in the state. On Feb. 2, author Eva Murray visited and many other authors have graced us with their inspiringl presence and left their creative mark on our children. The library website is www.stocktonspringslibrary.org.
Community matters more
The Bangor Savings Bank offers a program called Community Matters More. Its website, https://www.bangor.com/Why-Bangor-Savings/Supporting-Our-Communities/Community-Matters-More.aspx, relates how the bank “believes in giving back to our community” and it “believes that by focusing on the needs that matter most to our neighbors and friends — from developing housing for our poor to direct charitable contributions — we matter more in the daily lives of our fellow Mainers.”
To fulfill that mission statement Bangor Savings will award a total of $100,000 to 68 local nonprofit organizations. The Stockton Springs Community Library, the Save our Steeple Fund and The Stockton Springs Historical Society can be chosen by selecting “other” in the midcoast section and auto-complete those three chooses by striking the "s" key. You may vote for any other nonprofit you wish to include. And you are allowed three votes. Please go online and vote for our town.
I am pleased to report that former Stockton Springs columnist Dawn Furbush is on the mend. She reports via one of the social networks that she went to her second appointment with a swallowing specialist last week. He was very pleased with her progress over the previous week. She reports that she has graduated to the next level, which includes steamed or broiled fish, meatloaf, pasta, steamed veggies and other "soft masticated" foods. On a recent visit to one of the local area's eateries, she dined on a bowl of fish chowder. Life, she advises, is good. Unfortunately, she still has some issues with liquids and the doctor is having her “exercise.” I wish I could get a prescription to “exercise” my mouth. Good luck, Dawn. We continue to pray for your complete recovery.
Gold Star Service Banner award
I recently had the privilege of attending the Vietnam War era veterans' commemorative service held at the Jerry Dobbins Post 157 American Legion Hall, the Sandy Point Congregational Church and the Town Hall. It was a fine event, and all who were awarded certificates felt highly honored. During the event, the Army awarded the Gold Star Service Banner of Gunner Seaman Fred Milton Ellis to his surviving brother, Stockton Springs resident Gene Ellis.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson approved a banner to replace the traditional means of mourning the lost of a family member to service of the nation and to demostrate the belief that they, too, serve who stay at home. Then known as the Service Flag, we now more descriptively refer to it as the Service Banner. A white banner on red background holds a blue star for all from the home who serve. For those who lose their life in service, a gold star is placed on the the banner. On the banner awarded to Gene Ellis, one gold star lay on white, surrounded by red.
Fred Ellis served in the Navy. According to his record on the Wall, www.VirtualWall.org, he served as a gunner's mate, going in on Sept. 9, 1969, and losing his life to artillery, rocket or mortar fire in the Chau Doc Province of South Vietnam on Dec. 29 of the same year. My wife tells me that “Fred was the first” to die in Vietnam from Stockton.
I did not know him. I came here in the early '80s and Gene Ellis worked at the mill, owned the Trend with Marsha and was the first selectman. I lived here through the times when he stopped working at the mill, sold the Trend and retired from public service. So although I did not know the Ellis who gave his life in the service of his country, I know the one who spent his life in the same. They both deserve the banner and they both make me proud to hail from the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.