When Deb Plourde started working as part-time secretary to Searsport selectmen in 1976, Gerald Ford was president. She said then-Selectman Charlie Blanchard asked her to take on the role and she accepted.

Town Manager James Gillway announced at the Jan. 5 selectmen’s meeting that Plourde had submitted her letter of retirement on the first of the year, after 45 years of service to the town in both a full- and part-time capacity. He also said she would be “greatly missed.”

Gillway added, “Speaking on missing her — that kicked in late last month when we processed foreclosure notices, with a few pointers from Debbie.”

Plourde said she was the first to fill the position, as there had not been anyone before to be secretary. Gradually, over time, she "filled in when needed” at the Town Office. According to Plourde, in 2004 she became Town Clerk, a position she has held until now.

Working part-time at first, two to four days a week, she was hired as the full-time town clerk in 2012.

Sixty-six-year-old Plourde said she was planning on retiring, but because of COVID-19, has made a preemptive decision to do it sooner rather than later.

“It’s a precautionary measure,” she said.  But ironically, the pandemic, “makes it really difficult being retired, with so many restrictions and limited exposure,” she said.

Plourde has two daughters and three grandchildren, but has only very limited visits because of the virus. She is looking forward to when there are no restrictions and she can spend as much time with them as she likes.

Selectman Linda Payson said, “… I wish her much happiness in whatever she chooses to do and (hope she) relaxes while she’s doing it.”

Selectman Steve Tanguay added, “Debbie … you are one of a kind. You have added so much to the town over so many years. Take a year to think about where you would like your husband to bring you. Anywhere in the world.”

In other news from the Jan. 5 meeting, Police Chief Todd Boisvert is celebrating his one-year anniversary with the Searsport department after retiring from the Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Police Department, where he served as captain. Boisvert and his wife have purchased a home in town and say they love the community.

In the past few weeks, he said, there have been a significant number of car-deer crashes in the area and asked residents to slow down while driving. “There are a lot of deer moving at night,” he noted.

Owners of a proposed new RV campground at 250 Main St. filed a notice Dec. 28 with the town of their intent. Gillway said “the clock is ticking,” with only 20 days after the filing day for public comment.

The new Searsport ambulance has arrived with a used “box” on a new chassis. Gillway said the box has been completely refurbished and mounted on a brand new Ford chassis. “We looked at a new box on a new chassis, and determined that price was simply too much right now,” he said. This alternative, he said, saves the town $90,000.

The old box "just didn't have enough life left to it," Gillway said. He expects the new ambulance to be hitting the road soon.

"There is a lot that goes into putting an ambulance on the road," he said. “A big thank-you goes out to Ambulance Director Adrian Stone for finding this rig.”