Holiday thanks to those who serve in many ways

Posted Dec. 24, 2008, at 7:36 p.m.

Sincerest thanks to everyone who is working today so others can celebrate this special time of the year with family and friends.

From my co-workers at the Bangor Daily News, who are making sure you have a paper to read, to those who deliver it, and to everyone from our public servants and medical personnel to those in private businesses who are there for us when we need them, thank you.

And, to each of you who is celebrating today in your own special way, a happy holiday.

This year, via videophone, our family is enjoying a fun-filled, coast-to-coast hookup, sharing Hanukkah with the California family and our Christmas in Maine.

And whether either of those is your special holiday this December, or it takes another form, or is simply a time to reflect and enjoy another beautiful winter’s day, I hope you make the most of it, remembering those you love, those you’ve lost and, especially, those who serve us far from home.

• • •

Speaking of those who serve, and those who support them at home, I extend a special thank you to my former co-worker Dick Shaw of Bangor who, along with Karen Walker of Veazie, assisted my husband and me this fall with a special project.

Our third-grade New York grandson asked for help with his Flat Stanley project, in which we were to take Flat Stanley with us wherever we went for a month, photograph him and return him, with our story, to our grandson.

For those unfamiliar with Flat Stanley, the Web site explains “the Official Flat Stanley Project” is “an international literacy and communications activity for primary and junior students, teachers and families” that was created by Dale Hubert for The Literacy Community in 1995.

Flat Stanley is a cutout figure, made by our grandson and mailed to us. We put him in a frame and, well, just took him everywhere we went.

Flat Stanley saw much of the great state of Maine, from its glorious mountains to its beautiful coast, and also made a special stop at Bangor International Airport, where he joined the Maine Troop Greeters welcoming home service personnel from abroad.

For getting the three of us there at the appropriate time, I thank Dick, who provided me with the troop flight arrival and departure times.

And I thank Karen for finding one special solider whose last name, in bold on his uniform, was Stanley, and who graciously agreed to have his photograph taken with us and Flat Stanley.

It was a fun project and this part made it even more meaningful. Our grandson was very pleased with the results, as were we.

• • •

Thanks are extended to customers and associates of Shaw’s Supermarkets from Josh Kraft, president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, and Larry Wahlstrom, president of Shaw’s and Star Market.

Through an October fundraising campaign at all Shaw’s and Star Market locations, $212,327 was donated to Kids’ Cafe, “a program designed to provide daily, nutritious meals to at-risk children throughout New England,” according to a Shaw’s news release.

“These hot meals are served after school to children who may not otherwise receive one at home,” the news release said.

In October, Shaw’s associates and customers bought paper football helmets for $1 or $5 to benefit this program that helps supply food banks in New England.

Among the recipients was Good Shepherd Food Bank, which has its headquarters in Auburn and provides supplies for food pantries throughout Maine.

According to the release, “the number of people seeking emergency food assistance in our region has doubled in the past 10 years and a third of those receiving assistance are children.”

A goal has been set “to open three new Kids’ Cafes by the end of 2009.”

Currently, Kids’ Cafes are serving “more than 1,000 kids, five days a week, at six different Boys and Girls Clubs in the New England area.”

• • •

Diane Jarvis of Hermon is a much happier woman this holiday season thanks to Christina Allen, who works in the paint department of Lowe’s in Brewer.

During a recent visit to Lowe’s, Jarvis accidentally left her purse on a cart in the parking lot.

Allen found the purse and took it to the Lowe’s lost and found department.

Jarvis called the BDN to publicly thank and recognize “Christina for being so nice, especially in these tough economic times.”

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.net; 990-8288.

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