MILO, Maine — The Three Rivers Kiwanis Club of Milo/Brownville will soon have a permanent home in the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park in Milo, thanks to the generosity of a local couple and pledges of support from the business community.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 29 on a lot donated to the Kiwanis by Tom and Nancy Harrigan for the purpose of allowing the organization to build a 140- by 36-foot clubhouse. The couple purchased the lot from the town of Milo after a special town meeting on June 4.

“This is something that’s been needed for the club and the community for a long time,” Tom Harrigan said.

Master of ceremonies Ethelyn Treworgy said that everyone “was very appreciative of Tom and Nancy’s (Harrigan) generosity. This will definitely help with the good works we do in the community.”

The 21-year-old service club supports numerous children’s activities in the Milo-Brownville-LaGrange area, and one of their major fundraisers is an annual auction. State Rep. Paul Davis recalled that club member and former County Commissioner Eben DeWitt talked him into serving as auctioneer 16 years ago. “Except for one year when we had a family commitment, I’ve been doing it every summer,” said Davis. “They’ve raised about $10,000 a year for their charitable causes, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Guests at the groundbreaking ceremony included members of the Dover-Foxcroft, Dexter and Orono-Old Town Kiwanis; Division II Lt. Governor Buddy Webb; State Sen. Doug Thomas and staff members from Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Mike Michaud’s offices.

King staffer Ben Tucker described the groundbreaking as “representative of the best America has to offer. I’m a small-town guy, and this makes me so proud to be from Maine.”

Webb, a member of the Orono-Old Town club, said that having their own building “will make all the difference in the world. The community is very fortunate to have a club like this.”

Milo Town Manager Dave Maynard agreed. “Without the Kiwanis, Milo would not be the town it is today.” Maynard recalled the expansion of the Belfast business park when he was economic development director for that community several years ago. “It was like (the movie) ‘Field of Dreams.’ If you build it, they will come. And that’s what is happening right here,” Maynard said.

Ron Desmarais, the owner of Eastern Maine Shooting Supplies, has been an active supporter of the Kiwanis’ project from the start. Desmarais has contacted several local businesses who have pledged to contribute labor and either donate or sell materials to the club as a substantial discount.

“Today is the groundbreaking. That means we’re ready to start,” Desmarais said. As Tom Harrigan put it, “Ron has brought the best people in the business to get involved with this project.”

“This offer from the donors of a future new home for the club has been so generous,” said club president Maria Mills, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to her work schedule. “The Three Rivers Kiwanis Club does a lot in the community already with programs from Secret Santa to reading programs to veterans’ dinners. But the hope is that with a more permanent home, we will be able to accomplish even more for the children in our area.”