Palermo residents propose using funds to honor veterans

by Jonathan Strieff

On Thursday, October 19, the Palermo Town Council heard a proposal from two residents interested in using charitable fundraiser proceeds to honor veterans from town. Representing the American Legion, Palermo residents Paul Hunter and Gary Jones approached the town council after being selected by the Palermo Friends and Neighbors ATV club as one of four recipients of an annual fundraiser. Jones and Hunter sought to utilize the Hometown Hero Banner Program to decorate all 59 utility poles on major roads in Palermo with custom made flags, each paying tribute to a different past or present military service member raised in Palermo.

The idea came from existing Hometown Hero banners on display in Benton and Fairfield. The council unanimously blessed the project, but encouraged Hunter and Jones to contact Central Maine Power for permission to use the utility poles. Palermo residents will have the opportunity to nominate family members or friends for recognition on one of the 59 flags. Details about the nomination process will be printed in the December newsletter from the Town Office.

Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief, Roger Komandt, also addressed the council with his department report. Since January 1, Fire and Rescue has responded to 183 emergency calls: 119 EMS runs, 64 fire runs, and 12 calls for mutual aid to surrounding towns. At this pace, Komandt anticipates responding to well over 200 calls before the end of the year, significantly more that in 2022. Two new hires are moving through their training smoothly, beginning a pump class offered in Liberty. An annual test of all 15,000 feet of fire hose in use by the department found only three failing sections, totaling 250 feet. The failed sections of fire hose may be available to area farmers or crafters to put to use.

Komandt also described a difficult experience attempting to contact a former new hire from 2021. According to Komandt, the individual cut off all contact with members of the department very soon after joining Fire and Rescue. Komandt has attempted to reach out through phone, text, email, physical mail, and through family members but after a year of trying nothing has worked. The individual is in possession of $1,500 worth of personal protective equipment that could serve another member. The town council offered to send a notarized letter to the individual’s current address.

Jonasthan Strieff is a freelance contributor to The Town Line.


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