PRESQUE ISLE — A 28-foot tall snowman at the entrance of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle has been the topic of a lot of attention over the past several days. The hospital’s People Pillar Team and Employee Engagement Focus Group created the giant snowman as a way to brighten spirits during this particularly snowy and cold winter season. An oversized Frosty had been made in past years but not recently. They wanted to bring back the tradition and looked to the hospital’s maintenance team to make it happen.
“My guys may have been a little reluctant at first due to the cold weather, but they really got excited as we were working on it. We had a fun time and have a lot of pride in the finished project,” said Woody Shaw, manager of the maintenance department. “It was very rewarding to see a pile of snow turn into a 28 foot snowman. It was also a great teambuilding experience for us. We worked together to figure out how we were going to make the snowman and then of course actually building it.”
Shaw says his team had some great support from two local businesses, Caron’s Lawn & Property Maintenance, Inc. and Powers Roofing & Sheet Metal.
Scott Caron used his equipment to make the piles of snow to start things off, and he also cleared out the area where the snowman was being built so that the maintenance team did not need to wade through deep snow to work on the project. He then let the hospital’s team use a pay loader and snow blower for a couple of days. The snow blower was used to continually clean up the area around the base of the snowman as they constructed and shaped it. The pay loader was used to move the middle snowball on top of the base. The plan had been to use it to move the head into position as well, but they ran into a snag with that plan.
“We built the snowman too tall. When we tried to move the head into place, the pay loader couldn’t lift it high enough. We tried to make it work and ended u
p breaking the first snowball and had to start again,” said Shaw. “We needed a plan B, so we reached out to John Powers to see if he could help us. He and a worker brought over their telescopic lift to help us get the head on.”
Based on his experience with lifting items with this equipment, Powers estimated that the head weighed about 2,000 pounds, which means the overall snowman could weigh around 15 tons, said Shaw.
To complete the snowman, the crew used a traffic cone for the nose; lids to five gallon buckets for the eyes, mouth and buttons; and a 35-gallon garbage can for the hat.
With the fun, however, needs to come a bit of caution, said Kevin Reed, safety and security manager at the hospital.
“While we are thrilled by how much interest the snowman has garnered and are glad it is being enjoyed by so many, we do want to caution folks when they stop to take photos. There have been a lot of vehicles stopping on Academy Street and in the emergency entrance to the hospital. Both of these areas see a lot of traffic, including ambulances leaving and entering the hospital campus for emergency patient care. We urge people to be careful. Watch where you are parking to make sure you are out of the flow of traffic, and be sure to pay attention to traffic around you as you leave your vehicle and take photos,” said Reed.
Photo: Among the crew working to bring the 28 foot tall snowman to life in front of the Northern Light AR Gould Hospital campus were, from left: Oscar Cyr and Woody Shaw, both from the hospital’s maintenance team; Scott Caron from Caron’s Lawn & Property Maintenance; and Dale Beaulieu, Ed Cook, Tim Cormier, Mike Ball, Henry Bouchey, Kyle Damboise, and Shawn Ireland, all from the hospital’s maintenance team. Absent from photo: Mike Legassie and Darren Donahue from the hospital, along with John Powers from Powers Roofing & Sheet Metal.