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At the end of 2022, we wrote about several Mainers who provided inspiration and hope during the past year. That included Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley and others behind his department’s 25 Days of Kindness initiative. These people, and their support of others, made us hopeful heading into a new year.
Hopeful has turned to mournful, with the Holden Police Department announcing that Greeley died unexpectedly last Thursday night after a brief illness. He was 60.
“He truly understood community policing and cared deeply for the citizens of the town of Holden along with the people he worked with. He started the 25 Days of Kindness with a few hundred donated dollars and turned it into an event that raised over $25,000 last year,” the department said in a March 10 Facebook post. “Chief Greeley was also known by many for his part-time career as fill in host on the George Hale/Ric Tyler Radio Show where he would often fill in through out the year and interview a variety of guests. Chief Greeley’s humor, stories and personality will be missed greatly by those of us who have known him for many years.”
The outpouring of condolences and stories of Greeley’s kindness and community involvement are a testament to his impact in Holden and beyond. His career serving the public stretched 32 years and included time at various departments in Penobscot County. He also served in the Maine Legislature for eight years.
Gov. Janet Mills, who served with Greeley in the Legislature, called the news of his death “devastating,” describing him as a friend and colleague.
“He was a Republican. I was a Democratic member of the Legislature. We always got along and as police chief he was outstanding,” Mills said, according to Bangor TV station Fox 22.
“Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley was an extraordinary law enforcement official, community leader, and good friend. He constantly went above and beyond his duty to keep residents safe by coming up with a seemingly endless variety of ways to give back to those around him,” U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement. “From spearheading the annual 25 Days of Kindness, which allows Holden police officers to lend a helping hand to individuals and families who are less fortunate, to organizing a fundraiser for Sarah’s House, which provides hospitality to Mainers receiving cancer treatments, Chris leaves behind a powerful legacy of community service.”
The breadth of that legacy is reflected in the hundreds of comments responding to the Holden Police Department’s post announcing Greeley’s death.
“I am so sorry for the loss of an all-around great human. He was a credit to the law enforcement community and always had a smile and story to tell. He will be so missed. My condolences to his family and the law enforcement community,” Ruth Burgess wrote.
“Chief Greeley literally saved my life one day. I never thanked him, and wish I’d taken the time to do so,” Glendon Yule-Sweetland wrote.
“Back in 2018, my father unexpectedly passed away at my parent’s home in Holden. A Holden deputy stayed with us until things that night were taken care of. Chief Greeley called me the next day and was seeing how we were doing considering the circumstances of that night. It was a comforting phone call and greatly appreciated,” Matthew St Peter wrote. “My heart and condolences go out to his family and all the great people of his department. It’s a huge loss for the community and he’ll be missed for sure.”
This is how we will remember Greeley — as someone who gave to those who needed help. Greeley gave time, resources and support, and through his example, he will be a reminder of the power of kindness and being there for others. As so many people have made clear in more eloquent and personal ways than we ever could, he will be greatly missed.