June 25, 2018
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Blue Hill woman took books around the world

By Carol Higgins Taylor

The best thing about the Eastern Area Agency on Aging George Hale Silver Frame Awards is meeting the inspiring seniors in our area. The range of talents and activities is vast. It’s strange but we did not have a nominee in the category of Fitness Enthusiast-Adventurer, age 60-75.

We did have a number of nominations for the 76+ age group, however. The award was won by Anne Smallidge of Blue Hill. She was nominated by her sister Charlene Stewart, who wrote she had a hard time finding the right category for her talented sibling because she fills them all.

Smallidge has been fulfilling the needs of others for decades, being a wife, mother and a nurse. She returned to college later in life and earned a degree in community economic development. Smallidge’s adventurist spirit reared its head when she turned 50 and joined the Peace Corps. Anne was assigned to the Gambia in West Africa, where she endeared herself to the village people with her kindness and understanding of their needs, wrote Stewart.

“Among the various projects that Anne was responsible for was a solar panel project that provided power for the pump that sent water to the village,” she added. Under the program Girls Eye View, Smallidge, among others, took six girls from Hancock County to the Gambia for 10 days so they could learn how people there live. One of the more recent accomplishments is the completion of a library for the village.

“There were 25,000 books donated for the project and after many years of planning, traveling to the location, encouraging financial assistance, the library has been completed and has recently been dedicated,” wrote Stewart.

Congratulations, Anne.

Sometimes you come across someone who goes far above and beyond, and because of that we added a category. A special “Group” award goes to Wade and Helen Dow of Wade Dow and Friends of Brooklin. The award is actually for two categories: Community Supporter and Artistic Creative, 60-75. Wade and Helen Dow of Wade Dow and Friends were nominated by Ernestine and Ralph Slaven.

“We have followed Wade Dow and Friends’ music for years including all of the local benefits they plan and perform,” wrote the Slavens.

Helen is an integral part of “and Friends” doing all the organizing, cooking and anything else that needs to be done to make their work successful. The other “Friends” of Wade Dow and Friends are a group of musicians on whom he calls to perform with him for charity.

“He has raised thousands of dollars for people on this Peninsula,” wrote the Slavens. “Ellsworth, Bucksport and even Swan’s Island for people who need a helping hand to recover from illnesses, fires, accidents, etc. One weekend in 2009 he did three benefits and took in over $25,000. They also did a benefit a couple of weeks ago that raised $1,700 for one of the musicians who had occasionally volunteered with them, who has cancer.”

This is a sampling of the time and generosity Wade Dow and Friends share with others. While Dow would claim that there are numerous people who help make these events successful and that he could not do it without them, the Slavens have a different opinion. “The bottom line is, Wade Dow and Friends are the ones who promote, organize, advertise, cook, clean, make music for everyone to enjoy,” they wrote. “They are the last to leave, sometimes going back the next day to take down tables and chairs. There is hardly a month that goes by that they do not have a benefit for someone in need.”

Congratulations, Wade and Helena.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Email Higgins Taylor at chtaylor@eaaa.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, email info@eaaa.org or visit http://www.EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.

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