LAMOINE, Maine — Residents here have had the spotlight shined on them more than they would like in the past year, not for their town’s scenic views of Frenchman Bay or its gravel industry, but for two incidents of tragic violence.
In March, one man was left dead and three injured in a shooting on Douglas Highway. On Oct. 23, Leon Tilden killed his father and uncle before he was shot dead by police in an armed encounter.
Now, the community is rallying together to raise money for the Tilden family left bereaved by the October shootings. According to Amanda Fennelly, an organizer for one fundraiser, it’s about helping the family, but also restoring Lamoine’s reputation.
“Everyone has said so many bad things about the town with the two shootings this year,” she said Thursday. “I want everyone to see there’s so much more than that in Lamoine.”
Funerals have yet to be scheduled for the three victims in the most recent burst of violence. Lori Tilden, Leon Tilden’s mother, and her other son, Ben, were at the Tilden family home when her husband, Robert, and brother, Russell Pinkham, were shot.
Fennelly and Jennifer Reynolds both went to school with Leon Tilden. They said they hadn’t really kept in touch over the years, but wanted to do something to help his bereaved family.
Though she no longer knew Leon Tilden, Reynolds said she came to know his father during her time working at Lamoine General Store.
“Rob was a great guy,” she said. “I didn’t know him that well, but he was a genuine, down-to-earth, friendly guy.”
The two women have received a donated table at the craft fair to be held at Lamoine Consolidated School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. There, they’ll sell crafts, such as earrings and knitted products and baked goods, Reynolds said. They’ll also be selling raffle tickets for a slew of prizes donated by Maine businesses.
The proceeds will go directly to Lori and Ben Tilden, Fennelly said, to help them with living expenses while neither is working.
Raffle prizes include a night for two at the Clarion Hotel in Portland, four tickets for a whale watch from Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., one week of beginner horseback riding lessons at Misty Morning Stables on Mount Desert Island, assorted gift cards, free manicures and haircuts, and more. Tickets cost $3 each, two for $5 or five for $10.
Neither Fennelly nor Reynolds has had direct contact with the Tilden family, they said, but each has been assured through mutual friends that Lori had given her approval for the fundraisers.
Another fundraiser, a potluck dinner, will be held at Lamoine Consolidated School at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $4 for children. At the dinner, Fennelly and Reynolds will draw the winners for the raffle.
Raffle tickets are available at Coffee Express and Motif’s Hair and Tanning in Ellsworth. For more information on the raffle, call Reynolds at 460-9080 or Fennelly at 610-3181. For more information on the potluck dinner, call Betty Adams at 667-8578.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.