Devyn and Jordyn Robinson lost their father in September, then their mother earlier this month, just a few days after she was diagnosed with cancer.
The girls, 17 and 19, respectively, were determined to stay in the only home they’ve ever known, on a property in Carmel that’s been in their family for three generations. But the trailer needed major repairs, including a new roof.
So people in Carmel and the neighboring community of Hermon have been rallying around the orphaned teenagers since their mother’s death so they can stay on their family’s property.
People have brought them food, given them money, paid for heating oil and plowed their driveway.
A GoFundMe page set up by Hermon Town Councilor Steve Thomas has raised more than half of its $40,000 goal to pay for home repairs. Shortly after Thomas set up the page, a local businessman stepped up and offered to buy the girls a new mobile home to replace their aging trailer that was manufactured in 1978.
Jordyn graduated from Hermon High School last year, and Devyn is a junior at the school and a member of the track team.
Billy and Robina Hartt of Carmel, whose twin sons grew up with Jordyn, purchased the new two-bedroom, two-bathroom mobile home for the girls. But they’ll need help getting it installed.
“They went to school together starting in pre-K, so we knew their parents too,” said Billy Hartt, who was the owner of Hartt Transportation, a Bangor trucking company, until the end of last month when the company was sold to a Canadian trucking company.
Devyn and Jordyn’s parents, Joseph and Lee Ann, both were 55 when they died.
Neither of the teenagers has a driver’s license yet, but Robina Hartt offered to help Jordyn put in the time she needs to spend driving with an adult so she can get her license. Recently, Robina Hartt was at their home and saw firsthand that it needed to be replaced.
“My wife said, ‘we’ve got to do something.’ Where they are living is not a good situation,” Billy Hartt said. “We are in a position to help them and we decided that we’d better.”
Jordyn and Devyn said Wednesday that they have been overwhelmed by the community’s generosity.
“It’s just amazing how everyone has come together,” Jordyn said. “We are super grateful for the gift of a new home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Devyn said on the GoFundMe page that she and her sister were being “pushed into adulthood” far earlier than they had expected.
“So many things that my sister and I have to sort out,” Devyn said. “I just wish I could hug my mom and ask for her advice.”
Devyn said Wednesday that she was shocked by how many people have offered to help them.
“I knew we lived in a helpful community but it never hit me until this happened how much they’d help us,” she said.
Both girls said they are grateful they will be able to live together with their dog Shawdoe, their hamster and six rabbits.
A distant cousin of their mother’s, Liz Jonason of Bangor, is acting as their unofficial guardian.
While the Robinson girls wait for the snow to melt and the ground to unfreeze so they can settle into their new home, Thomas is seeking people with expertise in septic systems, plumbing and wells to help prepare the lot for a new trailer.
The Hermon town councilor also is hoping someone will step up to remove the old concrete slab and install a new one. Thomas hopes someone will volunteer to remove the old trailer as well.
People with those kinds of skills may call Thomas at 207-735-8977.