Veterans Day 2017

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A Day of Honor a Day of Thanks

Appreciating Our Veterans Past and Present

A Special Advertising Section of the Bangor Daily News • Saturday, November 11, 2017

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017



Honoring the military one wreath at a time

Morrill Worcester, founder of Wreaths Across America, never served in the military, but he has spent the last 25 years honoring those who fought and died for our country. Since 1992, the Washington County resident, along with numerous volunteers, has traveled to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to place Mainemade wreaths on the graves of soldiers buried there. This small gesture of gratitude has started a nationwide movement of appreciation for all members of the U.S. military. accept donations. A person was hired to collect all the “It’s an honorable thing Wreaths Across America does,” donations and return them back to each donor. said Wayne Hanson, chairman of Wreaths Across Then, in 2005, a retired U.S. Air Force photographer America. ”I call it the ‘power of one.’ One man with one volunteered to assist the family. While helping to lay dream and one truck has started something that has grown nationally with billions of people who volunteer to wreaths, he snapped a few pictures that went viral on the internet and the donations began arriving yet again. help. Morrill never sought publicity for it. It was he and This time, the Worcester family decided it was time to his family’s personal tribute to thank the veterans.” officially create a 501(c)3, and in 2007 the nonprofit From 1992 to 2005, the Worcester family would send one Wreaths Across America was born. tractor trailer truck to Arlington filled with 5,000 wreaths, “It went from that one cemetery [in and each and every December the 1992] to 1,300 locations nationwide,” cemetery would assign a different said Hanson. “Last year we had over section within the cemetery to 1,200 organizations helping and we place those wreaths. placed [1.2 million] wreaths at “The first year Arlington WAYNE HANSON locations across the country. The assigned them the oldest location, trucking companies donate drivers, Section 27, which is way far away from where people came into the cemetery,” said Hanson. trailers and time to us. We have almost 200 different companies making over 300 deliveries across the country. “It took them most of the day to place those 5,000 wreaths We couldn’t do what we do without the trucking industry” down in that section.” Hanson, a Vietnam veteran himself, said seeing this However, once word spread, folks from everywhere kind of support is humbling. wanted to show their support and began sending donations “It’s very emotional,” he said. “When we came back [from to the Worcester Wreath Company. Since Worcester’s company was a commercial business, it was not set up to the Vietnam War] we weren’t treated very well. We were in a

“It’s an honorable thing Wreaths Across America does, I call it the power of one.” -

conflict that wasn’t popular. So to place a wreath down on a cemetery headstone, especially of a Vietnam vet, I take pride in that and I thank them for their sacrifice and service.” This year Wreaths Across America will make its annual trek to Arlington for Wreath Day on December 16. Wreath Day is a day when hundreds of other cemeteries across the country simultaneously schedule the laying of wreaths to coincide with Arlington’s special noontime ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “Last year was an absolute miserable day with freezing rain, and yet we had a headcount of almost 45,000 people that showed up to help us,” said Hanson. “We encourage people to bring their children and to teach them what sacrifice is and to write down that person’s name, take it home and look it up on the internet and learn about that individual and their story. We are not there to decorate; we are there to place remembrance wreaths to honor their service and sacrifice and not forget them.”

To learn more about Wreaths Across America or to make a donation, visit


VOLUNTEERING VETERANS “I believe there is actually healing power in the woods of Maine” - JIM NEVILLE, ORONO, ME

At one time, Neville was a U.S. Marine Corps casualty notification officer, responsible for notifying family members when a service member had died. Today, he volunteers as a registered hunting guide with the nonprofit organization House in the Woods in Lee, Maine. Neville, who clocks in every day as the executive director of the Cole Land Transportation Museum, still finds time on weekends and vacations to volunteer. He said volunteering is his passion. “I had to do something, because I honestly believe that as a combat veteran who has lost brothers, I must lead a life worthy of their sacrifice,” he said. According to a 2015 report from Got Your 6, an organization that promotes veterans as community leaders, team builders, and problem solvers, veterans are more likely than similar civilians to volunteer more hours and to serve in civic organizations. U.S. Navy veteran Chuck Veeder fits this mission with years of volunteer service, most recently with Literacy Volunteers of America, The Together Place, area churches, and the Old Town Rotary Club. The retired CPA said he’d like to see younger vets volunteer where they can. “Veterans have a lot of experiences with an emphasis on [teamwork],” he said. “They offer their

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017

BILL THOMAS, veteran and Red

Cross volunteer, departing to Florida (from Maine) for Hurricane Irma relief. Photo courtesy of Red Cross

DELORES HAINER with Noah Kepple from Highview Christian Academy. Photo courtesy of Cole Land Transportation Museum

leadership capabilities, honed in the military.” Veeder contended that volunteering allows you to ‘rub elbows’ with people you would have otherwise never encountered. “I guarantee that over time, they will receive far more than they give [as a volunteer] in friendship, and the knowledge that they added to the side of good in their community.” “Being a volunteer gives you the opportunity to step out of your life and into the lives of people that needs you, your support, and your time,” said volunteer U.S. Army veteran Amber Goddard of Aurora. She volunteers with Beacon Hospice of Bangor while studying nursing. “The rewards outweigh that time you serve another individual,” she said. That’s why she blends her volunteer time in between her studies and family. Her challenge, though, is that she wants to spend more time with her hospice patients. Deployment is still a part of Bill Thomas’s life as part of the emergency response team with the American Red Cross. Because of Mother Nature’s wrath, a lot of leaders are needed to help hurricane ravaged areas recover, and that keeps the Woodland resident a busy man. “That goes back to military training,” said the Navy veteran. “When a job has to be done, you do it.” He equated his volunteer job to that of the military. “In the military, you have your



a volunteer hunting guide at House in the Woods, and Thom Gardella (left), U.S. Army veteran (and successful hunter). Photo courtesy of House in the Woods

occupational skill, but there are other duties that you’re assigned to have a successful mission, and you learn to follow the chain of command.” Like Thomas, Brewer native Delores Hainer has been volunteering for many years. The retired Army medic works with high school students who visit the Cole Land Transportation Museum. “I love the kids; I tell them I grew up learning that you don’t be sassy, you don’t make a ripple, and attitude and respect are everything.” “I found out who I was when I went into the Army. My leaders were my teachers and everything they shared with me was to keep me safe,’ said Hainer. “So I encourage these kids to pay attention to their teachers, and it will keep them safe.” The 86-year-old would never have imagined hanging out with high schoolers, but it’s Hainer’s work with the veterans’ interview program at the Cole Museum that keeps her spry. “I just love the children. They share willingly with me and that’s what keeps me going.” These are just a few of the many veterans sharing compassion and time to those in need. When Neville first thought of volunteering as a hunting guide, he just thought it would “be neat to do,” he said, “but I am overwhelmed by the whole experience, and I enjoy the heck of out it. You get so much more back than you ever put into the volunteering.”

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017



Caring for veterans is a privilege. Maine Veterans’ Homes provide care, community for vets

Earl Boyd was a senior in high school in Calais when he was drafted into the U.S. Army near the end of World War II. Then 18, Boyd was sent to the Philippines. While serving as a Browning Automatic Rifle man for a unit assigned to clear caves of Japanese soldiers, he was seriously wounded by a mine. Shrapnel struck him in the head and shoulders. At first, doctors weren’t sure he would be able to return to combat, but he recovered quickly and within a few days asked to go back to his old unit. In about two weeks, he was again at the front lines, but this time as a combat medic. Now 91, Boyd has long ago healed from his physical wounds but the trauma of war lingers, etched deep into his brain. At night, his wife, Ann, said Earl suffers nightmares or flashbacks, calling out and thrashing with his arms and his legs. “He can still see the faces of the men he couldn’t

help,” said Ann. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that affects veterans who suffered trauma during their service. Symptoms may include nightmares, f lashbacks to wartime experiences, intrusive thoughts and memories and difficulty sleeping. Often those symptoms can be more difficult to control as veterans age. When Earl returned from his wartime service, he had nightmares but like many veterans, he coped well and had a long successful career, working his way from lineman to management at a telephone company. The memories of what he had seen, however, never truly left him. After he retired, his nightmares were so bad he couldn’t drive in Bangor or Millinocket for fear he would fall asleep at the wheel. Today, Boyd is a resident at the Bangor Veterans Home,

where, Ann, his second wife, visits him often, driving roughly 700 miles each week from their home in Calais. Maine Veterans’ Homes is a private not-for-profit organization created by the Maine Legislature to serve veterans’ needs as they age. With facilities in Augusta, Bangor, Machias, South Paris, Caribou, and Scarborough, the Maine Veterans’ Homes offers longterm and rehabilitative care as well as assisted living and dementia/Alzheimer’s care. Because veterans often arrive at the Veterans’ Homes with both PTSD and dementia symptoms, staff members have become experienced working with veterans with those conditions. Caring for veterans is a privilege, said Bangor, Maine Veterans’ Home Medical Director Alexandra Craig. The daughter and sister of veterans, Craig said the staff at the Veterans’ Home is committed to providing

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017

care that honors veterans. But she worries that as more Vietnam and Korean War veterans arrive at the home with the two diagnoses, the situation could overwhelm the resources available. Earl agreed that the staff at the Bangor facility where he lives is responsive, although he added that he would rather be at home with Ann. The focus on the needs of veterans – 75 percent of beds at the Veterans’ Homes are reserved for veterans at any one time – helps make it a good place to be, say veterans interviewed for this story. Mario “Lee” Sirabella, can often be found with a group of fellow veterans in a lounge near his room at the Bangor Veterans Home. Friendly and talkative at 96, Sirabella is well known in the Bangor area as a photographer. He said the staff is responsive to the needs of residents.

“They take good care of me, very good care,” said Sirabella. The longtime Bangor area resident joined the U.S. Air Force in New York City along with two friends, one Jewish and one Irish, not long after World War II started. The son of Italian immigrants who arrived in New York through Ellis Island, Sirabella grew up in New York City where his father sold fruits and vegetables, specializing in exotic fruits. After originally applying to be a fighter pilot, Sirabella was turned down when it was discovered that he was color blind. Instead, he trained as an aerial photographer and served in Presque Isle and later Greenland. During one flight over Greenland, he was told to shoot photos of the icebound landscape from the copilot’s seat, but was never told what he was supposed to be photographing. When he returned, the film was sent


away to be developed and Sirabella later heard that a German weather station had been discovered. The weather station apparently sent weather reports to a submarine waiting offshore that could then relay them to Germany where they could be used to help predict the weather in the European theater. After World War II, Sirabella remained in the Air National Guard while building his photography business and tending to his growing family. When the Korean War started, he was recalled to active duty. On a recent weekday, he spent his morning watching television and talking with a group of veterans in a lounge and visiting with a long-time hunting and fishing friend, also a veteran, who stopped by to talk. The staff at the facility do a good job, he said. “They go out of their way to treat you with respect,” said Sirabella.


VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017



VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017

Many veteran benefits provided by funeral homes COURTESY OF BROOKINGS-SMITH FUNERAL HOME

Many veterans are unaware of the important role of funeral providers at the time of a veteran’s death. Funeral providers can help the surviving family members with securing the veteran gravestone marker, United States of America flag, being placed in a veterans cemetery, veterans honor guard, and a benefit called the burial plot allowance form. The requirements to be eligible to receive any of these benefits are to obtain a copy of the discharge papers from the branch of service. If discharge was anything other than “honorable,” the benefits would not apply. If the veteran entered into the service in Maine, a Maine funeral director may be able to obtain these records. If the veteran or their family cannot find this record, they would need to contact the branch of service they served with to see about obtaining this record. It is mandatory to have a record of discharge so that the funeral provider can complete the paperwork as needed. Every veteran is entitled to a gravestone marker. There are several types of stone to choose from such as white marble or gray granite. These markers are made to be placed flush with the earth or can be the upright type also. Markers can also be made of bronze in two different sizes for a grave or for a niche space in a columbarium. There are several choices of inscriptions that can be placed onto these markers in addition to the name. Branch of service is required, but you have choices as to rank, medals received, a year for the date or the month/day/year—you can even have the spouse’s name placed on the stone.

It is the funeral provider’s responsibility to obtain the flag for the family. The flag only comes in one size, which is large enough to be placed over a casket, although it still can be used when cremation services are requested. At the time of passing, a funeral provider helps with making arrangements with a veteran’s cemetery. There are local state veterans cemeteries, as well as national ones such as Arlington Cemetery. It is a requirement to get eligibility from the cemetery before plans can be made. If it was a wish of the veteran that they want to be placed into a specific veteran’s cemetery, we ask them to make those arrangements in life. If eligibility is made in advance, it is one less thing that has to be done at the time of death. If a veteran was disabled through their service record or was receiving a pension, they may be entitled to a burial plot allowance benefit. This benefit is an actual payment to the survivor to help with the grave and burial. The funeral provider has the contact information to make arrangements for an honor guard. The honor guard comes from the branch of service in which the deceased served. In this region, the honor guard service usually consists of the playing of Taps and a flag folding and presentation. Sometimes, if available, the firing of guns and pallbearers will be provided. There are many considerations when deciding if one would like veteran’s funeral benefits. If you have any questions please contact your local funeral provider for assistance.


From Army to agriculture

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017


Maine soldier finds peace, purpose and prosperity in farming U.S. Army Major Amy Cartmell of Newburgh is a work horse. She has deployed twice overseas as a medevac helicopter pilot with the Army National Guard in 2008 and 2012. She’s also been deployed within the U.S. to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Now Cartmell is on a new mission to create a farm where she can give rescue animals a second lease on life, take a relaxing horseback ride after a long day’s work, and grow her own food. “When I was really young, we had a little farm in Costigan. Then our lives changed and we ended up with no pets. So it was always in the back of my mind that I was going to get back there someday [to farming],” Cartmell explained. That opportunity finally arrived two years ago when Cartmell married her husband and the couple bought a home with a barn in Newburgh. “I had dogs but at some point I realized the thing I was missing was horses. So I went and met all these horses and then I met [my horse] Cash and the attraction was immediate. I purchased him on the spot,” she said. One horse eventually led to another until Cartmell had a trio of them living on her property. Cartmell added a few donkeys named Duke and Hazard to her fold and then began collecting sustainable animals. “Any agricultural endeavor takes grit and hard work and all the things veterans have,” Cartmell explained. “I think a lot of people are interested in going back to the homestead, sustainable living, and raising their own meat. And if you have a full time job of course, that’s a challenge. You can’t do it without help.”a Fortunately, Cartmell’s 21 years of service have provided her with loads of experience working long days and long nights. She also has a few extra sets of hands to help with the 30 animals she’s amassed in just the last two years. Her husband Peter is her biggest helper. The couple has also hired someone to assist them with chores on the farm. Cartmell’s day job as an assistant professor of military science at the University of Maine in Orono requires her to be ready for any task. “I teach freshmen. I’m with them from 6 a.m. until the close of business. It’s an aggressive schedule. We do physical training, classroom training, field training, tactical training, leadership training. Whatever training they need, we provide, which is fabulous,” she said. Being in the classroom has now afforded her the opportunity to create the farm life she always envisioned. “Ever since I was a kid, animals were the light at the end of the tunnel. It made me

feel relaxed, it made me have a feeling of home,” she explained. “Peter didn’t expect what we have here today. I was honest with him and said I want to raise my own meat. I fear what’s in our food with all the antibiotics and things. So we did our first set of pigs in 2015 and the next winter I bought a calf.” Cartmell is fond of all the animals on her farm whether they’re a pet or a sustainment animal. Letting go, she admits, can often be a challenge. “I made my husband bring the first set of pigs we had processed to the butcher,” Cartmell said. “I did do my research though because their well-being, whether they’re a pet animal or sustainment animal, is extremely important to me. I don’t want them to suffer because they didn’t ask to come here. I brought them to me.” That is why Cartmell goes to great lengths to provide all her animals with comfort and attention while they’re in her care. “I want them to have a great gig while they’re here and a humane end,” she said. “Plus, I get to monitor what goes into their systems. I’m not feeding them garbage. I make sure healthy goes in and healthy comes out.” Her farm is a real life dream come true for both herself and the numerous animals that live there. “I think being out in the barn is the most relaxing thing you can ever imagine,” Cartmell said. “We’re so blessed to be doing what we’re doing here.”

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017



United Farmer Veterans of Maine:

Connecting veterans to sustainable agriculture.

In Maine today, there are upward of 265 farms operated by veterans and their families. According to Jerry Ireland, CEO of the United Farmer Veterans of Maine (UFVM), that number may soon double. “Maine is home to the most veterans per capita in America,” said Ireland. “If you take the number of veterans in Maine and account for their family members, who we also provide resources for, that comes to about 60% of the population of the state.” Ireland himself is an Army veteran and co-owns Ireland Hill Farms with his wife in Swanville, Maine. UFVM is a veteran-based nonprofit organization that works for the betterment of all veterans and their families. They offer every veteran that comes to their organization the opportunity to become part of Maine’s agricultural movement. “We work to provide our members with anything that is needed for veterans to get into agriculture, including farming, forestry, and fishing,” said Ireland. “We build farms, start farms, and help with transitioning ownership of farms, too. We know what it takes to become successful farmers and we can offer decades of knowledge and experience.” UVFM’s efforts are beneficial not only to veterans but to the entire state, said Ireland. UVFM members and their families end up serving their communities by contributing to the local food movement and the local economy. UFVM has no paid staff, and instead is run by volunteers that are dedicated to

Jerry Ireland with “farm help”. Photo courtesy Jasmine J. Haines

Jerry Ireland (right) and an unidentified UFVM member Photo courtesy Jasmine J. Haines

providing resources to any veteran in need, whether it is someone who is struggling with housing or substance abuse or someone who is retiring and looking for someone to continue operating their existing farm. “We strive to build an all-inclusive veteran-based agriculture organization to help our veterans and build Maine’s agriculture at the same time,” said Ireland. “Our goal is to put veterans first, and then Maine. The end result is a better, healthier community for everyone.” Right now, membership is well over 300 and growing, but it isn’t limited to only veterans. Direct family members of veterans can join under the “Patriot” membership, such as spouses and children, and anyone in the public can become an “Associate” member. For veterans, a membership is $25.00 and for everyone else, it is $50.00. All funds raised go directly back into the projects UFVM provides their members. One such project is a new veterans farming co-op aptly named the Mainefirst Co-op. The co-op aims to encourage the growth of value-added products for its farmers as well as job opportunities for members of UFVM and the community. Recently, they acquired the Windham butcher shop to incorporate into this project and plan on expanding it while maintaining its current membership and employees. Community is at the heart of UFVM and they want to build strong ones here in Maine as well as supporting the current foundations.

If you are interested in learning more about the Mainefirst Co-op, you can attend UFVM’s upcoming annual meeting at their main office located at 45 Columbia street in Bangor. The meeting will be on November 17 and 18, and includes many workshops about the co-op as well as other exciting projects, success stories, and opportunities for veterans and members of the public interested in agribusiness. To learn more about UFVM or to become a member visit


VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017


VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2017