BROWNVILLE, Maine — He likely has been the Brownville Elementary School’s biggest supporter for 29 years. As thanks, the staff and pupils recognized him Friday with a day of his own.
Bill Sawtell, a local author and historian, recently retired from his volunteer efforts in the school, which included local history lessons, tours and arranging for guest speakers.
Pupils and staff feted Sawtell with cards and a song, a slide show, words of praise, a plaque and a cake.
‘’We’re very appreciative; he is a wealth of knowledge,’’ Principal Lynn Weston said Monday. ‘’The kids are much richer for having him teach them about their community.’’
Sawtell has given much over the years for the pupils, including more than 200 talks, trips to local historical spots, pizza parties and ice cream treats. He has been generous in his support of school functions and projects, including the new playground and the library. He also has donated artwork to the school and purchased trophies for the pupils.
On Friday, a handful of children told Sawtell that they enjoyed most the story he told about Onawa settler Axel Carlson, who fell off the Onawa Trestle and onto an ant hill. According to Sawtell, Carlson, a Swedish immigrant, was riding on a three-wheeled handcar on the trestle when he was blown off by a strong wind. Carlson fell onto an ant hill, which cushioned his fall and saved his life.
Several of Sawtell’s friends attended Bill Sawtell Day at the school, including Milo Town Manager Jeff Gahagan and Ron Knowles of Milo.