BANGOR, Maine — Later this month, the Maine Troop Greeters will celebrate their sixth year of greeting military flights at Bangor International Airport with an open house. The public is invited to the event, which will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 31, inside the domestic terminal at the airport.
For the last six years, the Troop Greeters have shaken hands with and welcomed more than 800,000 servicemen and women who have come through BIA. The volunteers, many of whom are former military members themselves, provide snacks, use of cell phones and appreciation of the troops’ service.
Over the years, the response to the Maine Troop Greeters has grown considerably. Troops have sent letters and left behind small pieces of themselves — coins, unit patches, flags, pictures — for the Greeters to keep. The items are all on display in the Troop Greeter room in the airport and have become a minimuseum of memorabilia.
The Troop Greeters have a core of about 40 regulars, but more than 250 volunteers have participated since 2003. The group relies on donations and recently applied for nonprofit status.
Three well-known Troop Greeters — Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy and Joan Gaudet — recently were featured in a documentary film, “The Way We Get By.” Directed by Gaudet’s son, Aron Gaudet of Old Town, the film was screened for the first time in Maine last month at the University of Maine’s Collins Center for the Arts.