Not too long ago, a group of feisty and spirited men from northern Maine, with a commitment to community, agreed to bare all (in good taste) as a means of raising funds to support local causes. Through a collaborative effort, members, sponsors and patrons raised over $42,000 for the 2006 Limited Edition Fort Kent Lions Club calendar. The shared proceeds went to the Cardiac Fund and the Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund at Northern Maine Medical Center, to a Fort Kent Senior Citizens Center project, and to support local youth activities.
After much discussion, the Fort Kent Lions Club has again decided to publish a new calendar with “fresh faces” in response to a number of charitable requests for financial support that extend outside of our region. These benefits go far beyond our neighborhood, but impact every single individual, young and old, across our beloved state. Hence, like a “Call from the Wild,” the guys have rallied to put forth a two-year calendar, with the goal of raising more than $70,000 for varied financial requests.
A presentation to our club last fall by Thomas Judge, Executive Director of LifeFlight of Maine, was the first of several requests that resonated for members of the Lions Club. The recurring theme, that LifeFlight provides critical care transport throughout Maine, was as real as the increasing reverberations of helicopter rotor blades off in the distance that we have all become so accustomed to. Judge spoke of the critical care providers, the pilots, the operators who answer the calls for assistance, and the people who work behind the scenes to help build a safe and reliable system to ensure everyone in Maine has access to the critical healthcare they need, when they need it. He spoke to us about LifeFlight’s mission, and the goal of the Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, to raise funds for aircraft, medical equipment and hospital helipads. One of the most pressing needs is to continue to upgrade LifeFlight’s services by purchasing a fixed-wing aircraft that can increase response time in critical, life-threatening moments.
Members of the Lions Club are aware of the financial pressures families face when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, a second cause that will benefit from the funds raised from the calendar. Thousands have taken to the streets to march for this cause—raising money for research, increasing breast cancer awareness, providing moral support, running fundraisers—while survivors heroically tell of their plight in the face of adversity. We as a club kept asking ourselves, “What can we do as an organization to make a difference in these trying times?”
A third cause that has been earmarked for a gift, and one that greatly impacts students from across our state, is the UMFK Foundation. This charitable trust has a mission to support endowed scholarships, student and faculty research, state-of-the-art technology upgrades, cultural events, new equipment, library collections and other campus needs not included in the University’s annual operating budget.
With similar financial requests made by other unmentioned recipients, we felt compelled to engage in a fundraising activity that could provide greater monetary return than a local bake sale. Hence, the cameras came out, the photo shoots were scheduled, and in the early morning dawn setting, the 2014 Fort Kent Lions Club calendar unfolded. Now it is time for everyone across the state of Maine to open your pocketbooks in support of these worthy organizations.
The limited edition calendars can be purchased by sending a check for $22.95 (includes shipping) to Fort Kent Lions Club, P.O. Box 28, Fort Kent, Maine 04743. Calendars can also be purchased online at www.fortkentlions.org. Thank you for your support.