Community response overwhelms the Bakos

by Connie Bellet

Ann and Peter Bako have given their time, energy, and resources to people of the greater community all their lives. Their tragic house fire of January 5th turned their lives upside down and prompted an avalanche of aid, which is desperately needed, but the couple feels a simple “Thank you” is not enough to express the depth of their gratitude. Sometimes it is harder to receive than give.

Much of the fundraising effort was captained by Mary Haskell and Cheryl Parkman, who headed up a team, which included the Palermo Grange, to put on a very successful benefit dinner at Erskine Academy. There is a long list of business donors who contributed gift cards that were raffled, including four for $100.00. Several tables full of other raffle items, including a Traeger Smoker and many homemade items helped to raise a hefty sum, and 50 pies and desserts were auctioned off. The 50/50 sum was returned in full to the Bakos by the winner, who prefers anonymity.

Other fundraising efforts are in progress on social media, and the Palermo Community Foundation has established a secure and tax-exempt donation portal, with 100 percent of the monies received going directly to the Bakos. Checks may be mailed to: Palermo Community Foundation, P.O. Box 151, Palermo, ME 04354. On the “notes” line, please write Bako 23.

Ann and Peter thank each and every donor personally, and as soon as they get a refrigerator, will cover it with the names of each donor, so they never forget the kindness of family, friends, neighbors, community members, and people who happened to see the story in the papers or online. The Bakos have moved into a trailer, which they are renting until they can rebuild on their property in South China. Several contractors have offered their services, as have a number of volunteers. Ann and Peter have promised quite the celebration when the new home is completed, and Ann has said that everyone who helped is invited.


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