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Inflated costs and deflating headlines might make gratitude just a little harder this Thanksgiving. Being thankful when surrounded by news of shootings, threats of shootings, continued war in Ukraine and still-rising energy bills, among other things, is no small feat.
Thankfully, even amid this wave of negative developments, Mainers continue to inspire hope and goodwill. As just one demonstration, this time in recent years, the Portland Press Herald has delivered a reminder of this enduring spirit of positivity through its “ Mainers to Be Thankful For” profiles. That compilation of Maine stories is sure to inspire, but special projects aside, Mainers deliver constant reasons for us to be thankful here in the Pine Tree State.
You don’t have to look very far back to find stories of inspiration from the pages of the BDN. Take Enock Glidden, for example. The 44-year-old originally from Patten, who now lives in Bethel and has spina bifida, has conquered mountains. And now he’s working with Maine Trail Finder to use his experience to help people with disabilities access and enjoy the outdoors.
“Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have many adventures,” Glidden told Joseph Cyr of the Houlton Pioneer Times recently. “These adventures were inspired by people I grew up with in Patten.”
And now, Glidden’s adventures are helping to inspire and facilitate the adventures of others. How great is that?
In Belfast, BDN reporter Kay Neufeld highlighted the effort of volunteers to clean up cigarette butts, demonstrated by studies to be the most common form of marine litter. Volunteers for the Butts Be Gone initiative collected more than 120,000 cigarette butts in one day from the streets of the coastal city. That is an astounding number, no buts about it.
“To see a clean street, each time it gets a little better,” Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition member Marianne McKinney said.
Sometimes, the people who inspire us remain nameless. Like the anonymous donor who recently gave more than $1 million to Southern Maine Community College, for example.
“That is a big gift in our world. A requirement of the donation is that the entire gift goes directly to students and that it’s completely spent down in ten years, which helps make an immediate impact,” the college’s president, Joe Cassidy, said. “This gift is an extraordinary expression of generosity that supports our mission of helping to transform the lives of our students and the communities where they live and work.”
Other recent stories give us reason to be thankful for new beginnings — and for graceful endings.
The Bangor area now has its first all-girls high school hockey team, and they’re already a source of inspiration.
“When we were out here for pictures, the younger girls [on a youth team] were out on the ice and they were all waving at us. It felt really good because they were recognizing that they are going to have this opportunity in the future,” said forward Meghan Delahanty, who is a junior at Hampden Academy. It is a cooperative team with players from seven different schools.
And while those young women are setting an example for the next generation of young athletes, a longtime member of the Maine press is closing out a storied career of storytelling. News Center Maine newscaster Pat Callaghan recently announced his retirement after 43 years at the station.
“Maine is full of remarkable people who care about their neighbors, and who work to make life in their communities better,” Callaghan said in his Nov. 16 retirement announcement. “Through sadness and celebration, triumph and tragedy, you have allowed me to be a part of your lives each day. You have let me know when I’ve done well, and when I deserved brickbats. I thank you all for your trust and your support.”
For our part, we’re thankful that Callaghan helped tell these Maine stories for 43 years with professionalism and empathy. And we’re thankful for all the remarkable Mainers who, as he so aptly recognized in his announcement, continue to inspire in times of sadness and celebration.