Cpl. Eugene Cole’s wife leads a charge for community

Some of the hundreds of placards along the motorcade route to Cpl. Eugene Cole’s funeral at the Cross Insurance Center, in Bangor. (Photo by Tawni Lively, Central Maine Photography staff)

by Mark Huard

On April 25, there was literally a shot fired in the heart of Somerset County. Corporal Eugene Cole is a 13-year veteran of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, and on that date his life was viciously taken from him, his family and his “Brothers in Brown.”

This county is used to its share of tragedy, but this hit like none other. Corporal Cole was a real person that epitomized country life and honest living. He was professional and kind to all those he came into contact with.

In many ways, this act took an icon in the county and brought the residents to their proverbial knees. What happened next is a charge, a charge led by those seemingly the most impacted. The wife of Cpl. Cole, and Sheriff Dale Lancaster stood up, and with a battered heart they found the courage to lead a charge. Mrs. Cole picked herself up and she brought a community together by speaking calmly and with the wisdom and benevolence that her husband lived each day of his career.

At this point, something magical began to happen. The people of Somerset County stood up, grabbed a hold of their emotions and followed the lead of Mrs. Cole and Sheriff Lancaster until the capture of the man that took Cpl. Cole from us all occurred. Community members brought food, gifts, supplies and whatever else was needed. The law enforcement officers worked tirelessly and selflessly to continue to protect the community. Law enforcement from all over New England and the state came to assist.

As the capture of the suspect occurred, the community didn’t stop. They began working on the next task at hand, which was to honor Cpl. Eugene Cole. This charge was again led by his wife, who pledged to forever remain his wife and never be called a widow. She showed more courage and grace than imagineable and she rallied her family together. She ensured they held their heads high as the patriarch of the family would have wanted, because after all if you hang your head then you better be praying.

Cpl. Eugene Cole

The day of the funeral was a day of closure for many closest to Cpl. Cole. The streets of the county were lined with officers, firemen, security guards, business owners, students and concerned citizens. A flag hung in the center of town and evoked through this sadness a sense of pride. Pride to be a member of this county, built on hard work and a genuine desire to be better today than yesterday.

So while this was a day of closure for Cpl. Eugene Cole’s family, perhaps it was a day of new beginnings for the community. This county came together in a way that was virtually gone in recent days. It’s apparent that Cpl. Cole’s work was not done, it was just done here on earth. His last call on earth, but certainly not his last call. His family and the close to 4,000 people in attendance at his funeral paid their respects to a law enforcement officer that gave his life to protect others. His family conducted themselves with dignity and respect and again led the charge for the rest of community to follow.

SOLON & BEYOND: Somerset County 4-H Leaders Association to hold auction, activities on May 5

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

Was very pleased to receive the following very interesting news about Somerset County 4-H Leader’s Association 2018. Officers for this are Eleanor Pooler, president; Sherry Grunder, vice president; Lori Swenson, secretary and Karen Cornell, treasurer.

Ted Blum 4-H Center

The Somerset County 4-H Leaders Association is holding a fundraising effort: a “Luck of the Draw” Auction on May 5, in Skowhegan.

4-H is the largest youth organization in the world. Our 13 local Somerset County 4-H clubs and independent project volunteers/ members learn life skills and participate in community service activities. Research studies document that 4-H youth are more likely to go on to college than youth engaged in other out-of-school programs. We provide funds to enable youth to participate in programs like Engineering Day, the 4-H @ UMaine Conference, summer camps and various county educational activities along with awarding county scholarships to youth who attend college. In an effort to reach more youth, we are coordinating with local schools and teachers to establish afterschool programs.

Would you be so kind as to help by donating an item or gift card? Many people love gift certificates for services or fun events. We are collecting new items or gently used things; no used clothing please. Your cash donations may also be used to purchase gas cards, a popular item in the auction for much needed help to many local residents. Items may be dropped at the Skowhegan Cooperative Extension Office.

Your donation will help further the leadership skills developed and demonstrated by many youths participating in our county. We would love to acknowledge your contribution by listing your name or organization. The above letter was signed by Lori B. Swenson, Secretary, Somerset County Leaders Association, UMaine Extension Office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan, Maine 04976. (207) 474-9622

Now for the monthly news from Solon’s Pine Tree 4-H Club from leader, Eleanor Pooler: The Solon Pine Tree 4-H Club met at the Solon Fire Station with three leaders, nine members and seven visitors in attendance.

Plans are being made for the club to do flowers for Mothers Day at the Solon Congregational Church. Several members are planning to attend to pass out the flowers.

The Somerset County Leaders Association is planning to have a “Luck of the Draw” auction on May 5 at the American Legion Hall, on Route 201, in Skowhegan. Anyone wanting more information can contact Eleanor Pooler at 643-2305.

Five members gave their demonstrations. This is something that members are asked to do each year.

After the meeting the members enjoyed doing a craft project. The next meeting will be on Saturday, May 12 at 9:30 a.m., at the Solon Fire Station.

Several columns ago, I shared a letter I received from the Somerset Woods Trustees. This is just a reminder that they would appreciate volunteers to help clear the Kennebec Banks Rest Area on April 22. Please bring whatever tools you may have to dig, cut, and trim. We should dig out the Japanese knotweed and honeysuckle. Please bring your gloves. We’ll supply the doughnuts and hot chocolates.

And so for Percy’s memoir entitled, “Life’s Adventure”:

Life is a great adventure,
Each day a new surprise,
So sweep the cobwebs from your heart,
And open up your eyes.
Sorrow flees the sunlight,
So throw the windows wide,
And watch the brightness flooding in,
Warm everything inside.
Life is a great adventure,
For those who would explore
The road winds upward and the wind
Taps lightly at the door.
And should the day be cloudy,
No reason to complain,
When trees along the avenue,
Are singing in the rain.
Life is a great adventure,
Each day that passes by.
A dazzling panorama
As broad as it is high.
Beyond all comprehension,
The wonder of the spheres,
When one by one the hours make
A ladder of the years.

(words by Grace E. Easley.)

Somerset County: Fallen state trooper remembered

From left to right, retired Maine State Trooper Mark Nickerson, Sen. Paul Davis, Maine State Trooper Seth Allen, Maine State Trooper Tyler Harrington, Maine State Police Lt. Jackie Theriault and Sen. Scott Cyrway. Contributed photo

On Monday, December 11, Senator Paul Davis (R-Piscataquis) and Senator Scott Cyrway (R-Somerset), joined retired Trooper Mark Nickerson, Trooper Seth Allen, Trooper Tyler Harrington and Lieutenant Jackie Theriault at Brown Cemetery in Benton to visit the grave of Trooper Thomas J. Merry, a hero who died in the line of duty in July of 1980, in Palmyra.

Trooper Thomas J. Merry

Senators Davis and Cyrway, both now retired, were law enforcement officers at the time. Senator Cyrway was a classmate of Trooper Merry’s and Senator Davis was one of the first responders on the evening of the incident.

In visiting Merry, both are reminded that, even in a safe place like Maine, law enforcement can be a dangerous line of work, and that officers put their lives on the line every day to protect us, anyways.

Trooper Merry was killed on July 12, 1980, in Palmyra, when struck by a car involved in a high speed chase. Merry had parked his cruiser as part of a roadblock and was attempting to seek safe cover when struck by the fleeing car. He joined the state police in 1977.

Somerset County: Embden scholarships

Spencer Lawler-Sidell

The Embden Community Center has awarded two scholarships to graduating seniors at Carrabec High School, in North Anson. Spencer Lawler-Sidell, son of Candace Lawler-Sidell and Stephen Sidell, of Embden, is the recipient of one scholarship. He will be attending Southern Maine Community College in the liberal studies program.

Emily Witham

Emily Witham, daughter of Wendy Witham and Michael Witham, of Embden, is the recipient of the other scholarship. She will be attending the University of Maine at Farmington in the community health program. The Embden Community Center has been awarding a scholarship each year to a graduating Embden student(s) for the past 5 years.

Contributed photos