Sisters Devyn and Jordyn Robinson stand in front of their new home.
Sisters Devyn (left) and Jordyn (right) Robinson stand in front of their new home in Carmel on May 24, 2022. Members of the Carmel community stepped up in the wake of the death of the girls' mother Lea Ann, who died earlier this year. Their father died in September leaving the children without parents. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

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The community of Carmel has delivered a sweet story of people helping others during a difficult time.

Sisters Devyn and Jordyn Robinson have lived through an unimaginably difficult past year. Their mother, Lee Ann, died in January. That was after their father, Joseph, died in September. Following these months of tragedy, the 17- and 19-year-old sisters wanted to stay in Carmel, in the only home they’d ever known, on a property that has been in their family for three generations.

However, their trailer needed major repairs, including a new roof. The Carmel community and its neighbors rallied around them, with Hermon Town Councilor Steve Thomas starting a GoFundMe page that raised thousands of dollars for home repairs. And Billy and Robina Hartt of Carmel, whose sons grew up with one of the Robinson sisters, purchased them a new two-bedroom, two-bathroom mobile home. BDN writer Judy Harrison wrote about the recent arrival of that new home, which the sisters are expected to move into in the next few weeks once the utilities are connected.

“This is going to give us a fresh start. I wish we could move in tonight,” Devyn said in late May.

The sisters were surprised by the new home’s arrival, expecting it to be delivered several weeks later. And their excitement and appreciation was obvious. The photos from BDN writer Sawyer Loftus say it all.

“This was money well spent,” Billy Hartt said. “It is amazing that our small community has shown such compassion and love. Now, they can go on and face this tragedy without having to worry about having a roof over their heads.”

The sisters have made their gratitude clear.

“It’s just amazing how everyone has come together,” Jordyn said in January. “We are super grateful for the gift of a new home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Many Mainers are facing a long list of different housing challenges right now. In this case, it didn’t take studies or zoning changes or new laws to improve the situation — it took the compassion and skills of a community. Thomas, the town councilor, said he was inundated with offers to help after an earlier story about the Robinsons ran in the BDN in January.

One of those helpers, Josh Whitcomb, owns Hometown Heat Pumps in Burnham. He is installing a heat pump for the new mobile home, and is one of more than 15 individuals and businesses that have donated materials and labor as part of the project.

“I’ve cried a couple of times telling their story,” Whitcomb told Harrison recently. “Every couple I know has that conversation about what to do if we die while our kids aren’t yet adults.”

If others would like to join this group of helpers, there is still an opportunity to support the Robinsons as they get settled into their new home. Donations are still needed for front steps and a back deck. People willing and able to help with that can contact Thomas at 207-735-8977.

“With all the bad news everywhere, people really need this kind of good news,” Whitcomb said.

We won’t argue with Whitcomb about that. Like the Robinsons, we are grateful that Carmel and surrounding communities stepped up to give us this good news.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...