ORONO – Their faces protected by a blue welding mask and clear shield, the university students one at a time gripped a sledgehammer with their work glove-covered hands and let it slam into a Pontiac Grand Am parked in front of the University of Maine’s Memorial Union.
It was destruction in the name of community service.
The body of the blue car was in fairly good condition when it was given to members of Delta Tau Delta fraternity by Lakeman & Sons Inc. salvage yard in Hermon.
But by noon it was covered in dents and dings, portions of the bumper and fender were ripped off and the most of the lights had been smashed.
“As far as looks go, I would say it looked like a normal Maine car – maybe a little rust on it,” Shane Yardley, fraternity brother and UM student, said Wednesday. “It’s gotten a little love since then.”
The event was a community service project for the fraternity that coincides with drunken driver awareness week. Each bash with the sledgehammer cost $1, with proceeds being donated to the Orono Police Department.
“They have to fight drunk driving all the time,” Yardley said.
The fraternity raised $134 for the department and will present the money in the near future.
“I think it went really well,” he said Thursday.
Yardley said the brothers tossed around several ideas when trying to determine who would benefit from the car-bashing fundraiser. The fraternity brothers eventually decided it would be nice to give something back to the town. “We use their town quite a bit,” he said.
He recently read a Bangor Daily News letter to the editor from an Orono resident in response to an article about another UM fraternity adopting a portion of College Avenue. The resident was upset that students didn’t do a better job of keeping the entire town clean.
“Maybe it’s true,” Yardley said. “Maybe we should be giving back a little more to Orono.”
Orono Police Sgt. Gary Duquette said earlier this week he was pleased, and perhaps a little surprised, when he heard what the Delta Tau Delta brothers were doing.
The department hasn’t decided what to do with the money, but it may be used to outfit a police cruiser to accommodate the newest member of the Orono department – a police dog named Caliber.