On behalf of family, friends, neighbors and the residents of Maine, we offer a Standpipe salute this morning to our public works, public safety, municipal, state and federal workers, as well as all private company and public utility employees — from near and far — who have been laboring to restore our world to normal after the Ice Storm of ’98.
We know there are many, many people — including some of our co-workers — still without power. Many of you are still in shelters. Others are able to be in your homes because you have alternative heat sources, but that doesn’t mean you are out of “storm mode” yet.
We know it is difficult — especially for those with young children — but there is hope. Everywhere, people are working to help you return to your homes safely, and to provide power to them. It is a wonderful feeling to get that power back, and we hope you share that feeling soon!
More times than we can count in the past several days, we’ve heard people comment on the efforts of others pitching in to help during this state of emergency.
We are proud of the members of the media — print and electronic — who have made concerted efforts to keep you informed through emergency broadcasts, reports, updates, safety tips and explanations of current situations.
We are pleased, too, that our power companies and state executives have taken an active role by being forthcoming with the facts and keeping in touch with the public.
But, above all, we are proud of you, the people of Maine, who haven’t let this storm get you down.
It seems to us people are friendlier than they’ve been in a very long time. People are more patient and complaining less. We see more smiles than frowns but, above all, we’ve noticed a rebirth of the simple act of common courtesy.
Whether it’s opening a door for someone with an armload of groceries, or drivers on the stop-and-go honor system recognizing that any type of service vehicle gets the right of way, Mainers have shed their “crusty” image during this disaster to let their own brand of home-grown friendliness shine through.
To our readers still without power, keep your collective chin up. Enjoy the sun, the extra time with your children and getting to know neighbors you might otherwise never have met.
And, if you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. You will get it.
Here is one of a thousand examples of acts of kindness that have made such a difference in so many lives this week.
Cindy Durham of Bangor called the Bangor Daily News to tell us how proud the city should be of its firefighters.
Durham’s father is handicapped and lives alone. He lost his power. She did not, so he went to stay with her. But while family members were safe and warm, they were concerned about her dad’s home because it has a sump pump that was’t running in the basement.
“The cellar started overflowing and he lost quite a bit of stuff,” Durham said. “So we called the Bangor Fire Department, and they sent over firefigher Dale Page.”
When Page arrived, he found a tree down over the driveway, “which meant emergency vehicles couldn’t get in if they needed to,” Durham said. “So Dale took it upon himself to cut the tree down.
“Then, he pumped out the cellar. But he also plowed out the driveway so we could have access to the house. He certainly went over and above his duty for a Bangor firefighter, and I think we are very lucky, in the city of Bangor, to have somebody like that with our Fire Department.”
We received a call last week from Gil Peavey, director of the Feed America program in Levant, asking if we would help him extend his gratitude to the many individuals and businesses that helped feed thousands of our citizens during the past year.
“We of the Feed America program would like to express the deepest thanks and appreciation” for the support the program received during 1997, he said. The list of individuals and companies that helped is a massive one, but we were able to single out a few for special mention.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of the Maineiac Charities,” Peavey said of members of the Maine Air National Guard who supported a program that provided food for more than 13,000 people from Vassalboro to Caribou.
Bert and Sue Moreau of Levant, Andrew Mayhew Construction, Cub Scout Pack 24 of Levant, Wickes Lumber, Michaud Distributing and Bouchard Farms were included on Peavey’s list as were Sen. Susan Collins with staff member Mike Noyes.
Peavey thanks all who helped in any way because “without that help and dedication we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what we have. We are looking forward to yet another year of helping those in need.”
This sounds like fun, both from the perspective of a reader and a listener.
The Ellsworth Public Library is conducting open mike night, which is described as an opportunity to share your own writings and listen to the work of others. The staff requests you limit your presentation to 20 minutes, and that your material be for a family audience. All ages are welcome to participate.
Local poet Charlene Shepard will be the library’s spotlight guest at open mike night from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, in the Riverview Room. Shepard will read from the second volume of her trilogy, “Present Tense,” which follows “Past Imperfect,” published in 1993.
If you are interested in taking part in open mike night, or want more information, call the library at 667-6363.
The Standpipe, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.