June 18, 2018
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A look back at Loring Air Force Base

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

What started as a presentation for his high school reunion has become a modest Internet sensation for Art Lilley.

Lilley, who graduated from Limestone High School in 1961, pieced together a 10-minute video in June featuring clips of Loring Air Force Base, and two months later, the video has more than 1,300 views on YouTube.

Lilley’s reunion took place in July in Aroostook County.

“Loring was a wonderful place, and the Youth Center was really kind of the heart of it for us kids,” said Lilley, who now lives in western Pennsylvania. “I always wanted to do something to remember the youth center.”

Lilley’s father had served in the Air Force and was stationed in Loring at the time of his high school education, and the youth center provided kids who lived on the base a place to mingle.

“We had a little snack bar there, we played pool and pingpong,” said Lilley. “It was mainly that youth center experience that so many of the kids that I graduated with talk about.”

Gateway Independent Television, a Cable Access station based out of Houlton, is interested in doing a piece on Lilley’s video.

“It’s a story that I’m happy to share with other people,” he said.

Not bad for a guy who only intended to make the video as a memoir for him and his classmates.

“After I got it done and I sent it around to some of the contributors and I got their feedback, I went ‘oh wow, maybe this has some appeal,’” Lilley said. “I’ve just been amazed how it’s growing.”

Lilley was a military brat growing up, as he lived in eight states and attended 17 different schools, and that experience makes him appreciate traveling, he said.

“I can sleep on a bed anywhere,” Lilley said.

Lilley stayed in Maine after completing his high school education, graduated from the University of Maine in 1965, and noticed on his return to Limestone that the town has a far different look today than it did before the base’s closing in 1994.

“Our old house is gone; it’s been leveled and now it’s just a big field,” he said.

Lilley has been getting nothing but positive feedback on his video.

“So far it’s 99.9 percent positive,” he said. “One person pointed out a typo.”

Lilley was also an athlete in high school, as he played baseball in Limestone, and was quick to recall his first plate appearance.

“My first at-bat I had a triple,” he said. “I think it’s because I closed my eyes and swung.”

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