My humble thanks

At 4:10 p.m. on Friday [July 9], I walked out of my office of our grilling wood business which is connected to our home when I noticed a 20-foot wall of flame marching toward some of our sawmills. My first thought was to panic. Where to run? Where to hide? What to protect? What not to protect? In honesty, I froze! I did nothing! My office manager called 911.

Within 10 minutes the Brooks fire department arrived on the scene. By that time, the fire had consumed one sawmill and was spewing fiery darts of destruction toward our home, production area, and other mills and equipment. The fire was ravenously consuming everything in its path. Another expensive piece of equipment caught on fire, sending more flames toward the house, production barn and other structures that held mills and equipment.

Then the givers took over — those good folks that are the backbone of every community; I can’t mention names because, frankly, I do not know all of their names and even if I did, I do not want to miss any of the determined faces that I saw who volunteered to risk their lives and give everything they had that day to save our home and business.

As I stood outside of my home watching this demon-possessed inferno marching toward me with the intent of destroying everything that we had worked for, my first impression was of an ordinary man who works for a local lumber yard calmly directing men and equipment into position to battle this unstoppable blaze. Even when 10 volunteer fire departments and over 50 firefighters were on the scene, I could hear him directing every unit and every man as effectively and as efficiently as any corporate executive in the heat of battle.

Then came the troops. I am in my 60s and I saw men older than I am putting on hot, heavy suits and marching towards the flames. One man, our retired local hardware store owner, soaked with sweat, gave me a thumbs up. I looked down my driveway, and saw a man who jumps from planes to defend our country during the day calmly walk up, exchange his country’s uniform for that of defending my property against fire, and head into the blaze. The repair man from my propane company gives me a nod and proceeds to take a hose into the fire. It was the first time that he was qualified to do this.

I am overwhelmed by those who were willing to risk their lives and give their time for someone who has sat upon Hall Hill in Brooks for 15 years that they hardly knew. I watched as men and women without asking anything in return lugged hoses, brought drinking water, cared for the exhausted, handled the details of safety, directed traffic, drove the trucks, carried instructions to the front line, and even spared the time to say to me, “I am sorry for your loss.” I saw men and women drenched in sweat, overheated, gasping for breath, pushing themselves to their limits, to save a man’s dream who they did not even know.

I am ashamed to say that I was one of those who said that a new fire station was not necessary for our small community. Never have I been so confronted with my own narrow-mindedness and arrogance. I can only say to all of the volunteers who saved my home and business, a very humble, “Thank you!” I am praying to my Lord Jesus Christ who forgives my sins that He shows me how I, too, can be a giver and not a taker.

Ken Theobald

Maine Grilling Woods

Brooks

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What do Tea Partiers want?

It seems that every day, I hear cries from the Tea Partiers to “Give Us Back Our Country!” But I am mystified as to what period of our country they are talking about.

Is it 2003, when we entered into a criminal and unjustified war with Iraq?

Is it 1975, when Saigon fell and we left Vietnam after a criminal and unjustified war?

Is it May 4, 1970, when four unarmed Kent State students were shot and killed by the National Guard?

Is it the early 1960s, when women were relegated to being child-bearers only?

Is it the early 1950s, when racial discrimination was the law of the land?

Is it the 1940s, when we were seen around the world as victors and liberators? Yes, that would be a good choice.

Or is it the 1930s, when much of America was jobless, homeless, and starving as a result of the Great Depression?

Or finally, was it the period from the early 1600s to 1863, when millions of men, women, and children were bound into slavery?

I’ll tell you what: The period of America that I would like back would be when there were not any evolutionary throwbacks such as Tea Partiers, and when people like that had something better to do.

Such as rotate their tires.

Stephen Allen

Belfast

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Rain, rain (would not) go away

While last year’s Arts in the Park event in Belfast was blessed with some of the finest days of the summer, this year was a different story — the rainfall was record-breaking, but nonetheless Belfast was buzzing with visitors and locals alike as they made their way to and from the Arts in the Park festival in Heritage Park. Despite the weather, this year’s event, the 15th, was a huge success, thanks to many.

First and foremost the artists, 83 of them, who set up, unpack, smile and chat with thousands of people, some who buy and many who don’t, then pack everything up again (and this year in monsoon-like conditions!) — without them there would be no Arts in the Park. Thank you!

Also, I would like to pay a special tribute to the all-volunteer Arts in the Park committee, who work joyfully and tirelessly all year long — without them this event would not be the great show that it is. Our Artist of the Year, Laurel Johns, whose colorful glass artwork shone with the Belfast Harbor behind it; she provided us with a beautiful kalaidescope glass piece which Sara Shute photographed to advertise the event on our posters and rack cards.

Then there are the musicians — the 195th U.S. Army Jazz Band, who have performed at Arts in the Park for the past several years and are so greatly appreciated; the Belfast Bay Fiddlers who get people up dancing and tapping their toes; the River City Harmonizers — the terrific female acapella group, the BallyKelty trio, and the Blue Hill Brass—- a staple and always back by popular demand.

The food vendors who kept us happy in other ways — Scoops, Mullen’s Ice Cream, The Coffeeman, Ma’s Shaved Ice, Ye Olde Fish ‘n’ Chips, The World of Food, and the Game Loft ,whose volunteers wrapped hot dogs with bacon before grilling them.

Thanks to Kathy Messier, the harbormaster, and her crew, Jim Bell and Parks & Rec., the Public Works department (whom we greatly appreciate, especially this year with the repairs that are needed to the grass -— and for which we have made our apologies). Our security guys, Doug and Wayne; Ray Estabrook, and the Game Loft kids who helped with trash, tents and more, and French & Webb for allowing us access to the water.

Our sponsors for their donations and contributions, without them we wouldn’t have the music or be able to publicize the event as widely: Atlantic Insurance & Benefits, Bangor Savings Bank, Bayside Country Store, Belfast Cooperative, Belfast Harbor Inn, Camden National Bank, Colburn Shoe Store, Colonial Gables Oceanfront Village, Colonial Theatre, Coyote Moon, Darby’s, Insight Productions, Key Bank, Lincolnville Family Dentistry, Mainely Naturals, Mainely Pottery, Cultured Canines, Old Stuff, The Belfast Framer, The Purple Baboon, The White House Inn, Town & Country Realtors, Viking, Inc., and, our media sponsor, the Midcoast Beacon & Bangor Daily.

For the countless hours and all the work given generously, a huge thank-you to all the volunteers who pulled it all together: The Arts in the Park Committee who work tirelessly for 10 months out of the year and will start working on next year’s event shortly: Edie Buron, Lesley Perry, Sara Shute, Barbara Plummer, and Carol Gater; Dennis Urick and David Boyer for installing the signs and banners, gathering recyclables, trash, erecting tents and much more; Chris Maseychik, who helped mark out all the sites; on the weekend Carol Good, Mary Tani, Dorothy Cannell, Sue Woehler, Chet and Sandi Chetwynd, and finally, thanks to those who support the event each year by coming and shopping, eating, listening to the music — we need you.

All proceeds will go to Friends of Belfast Parks to be used for improvements of our city park facilities.

For more information about Arts in the Park, please go to artsintheparkbelfast.org, or check us out on Facebook.

Chris Urick

Arts in the Park Committee Chair

Belfast