Archive for the ‘Scarborough 350 Profiles’ Category

Scarborough 350: Leroy Crockett

Sunday, April 20th, 2008


I attended my first Chamber of Commerce meeting last September as a guest. It was there that I made the acquaintance of Leroy Crockett. He was making his first stab at political office, running for a seat on the Scarborough town council. Although he failed in that bid, coming in third, he has remained active in civic affairs. Leroy says he wants to preserve “quality of place” in Scarborough.

Born in Portland, Leroy has lived most of his life in Scarborough, raising a family of a daughter, son and stepson. When he grew up here, the town only had five police officers and kids could ride their bikes anywhere. High school students were even recruited to go out on rescue calls. Hannaford’s hadn’t yet arrived and there was no middle school, but there was a drive-in movie theater. While the town has grown and changed much since then, Crockett says. “We’re not growing so fast that we aren’t managing it well. For the most part, the town has grown wisely and smart, balancing the mix of residential and business properties.”

Leroy says that with the good schools and community organizations here, Scarborough is a great place to raise a family. He applauds the “green” initiatives the town is taking in areas like recycling. His employer, Norton Insurance & Financial Services in Falmouth, encourages their employees to participate in community affairs. Crockett is a member of the Rotary, which works on clean water projects worldwide and which provides scholarships to three Scarborough High School students. In July he’ll start a one-year term as Scarborough Rotary Club president. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, he has served on the business and economic development committee, the events committee, and the concert committee.  With all these duties, Crockett says, “I’ll wake up some days at 4 a.m. and start thinking about what I have to do, and I can’t get back to sleep. Ideas keep popping into my head.”

One of Leroy’s fondest memories about growing up here was as a member of the 1983-84 cross-country team at the high school, which captured its first-ever state championship. “We were coming home that night on the bus, and the Scarborough police and fire departments met us out on the turnpike. Unbeknownst to us, someone had called ahead to spread the good news. They escorted us back into town in a parade, and when we got to the school, all our parents and friends were there to celebrate. They were all so excited for us.” Now that’s a quality of place worth preserving.

Scarborough 350: Jeff Poulin

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Earlier this month I took pictures of a group of students from Scarborough High School at Pine Point Beach doing a charity polar dip. That’s where I met Jeff Poulin, who is the New England district governor of Key Club, the oldest and largest student-led community service organization in the US. Chatting with him this morning at The Freaky Bean before he headed off to class, I found that Jeff’s interest in community service has been an outgrowth of his father’s work with the Kiwanis. His dad used to take him to Kiwanis meetings when he was little. Jeff joined the Key Club as a freshman and says, only half-jokingly, “It has consumed my life.” His action-packed term as governor is coming to an end in April. He has spent the school year traveling to chapters around New England, has visited Dallas, Chicago, and Orlando, and has an upcoming trip to Bermuda, which is also part of his district.

Jeff developed a five-year strategic plan for the organization. His goal for this year was to grow the membership by 10%. So far, they’ve chartered 12 new clubs. He has overseen the Key Club’s ongoing district projects, raising money for Camp Sunshine in Casco, ME, the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute in Boston, MA, and Children of Peace International in Denver, CO. As if this wasn’t enough, Jeff has also served as president of the student council. He spearheaded the effort to get two youth delegates to serve on the Scarborough School Board. He says, “We needed a voice. It shouldn’t just be adults, some of whom may not even have children, who make decisions about us.”

Although he is dedicated to community service, Jeff is passionate about the performing arts. An accomplished tap dancer, he toured with a group called Dancers Inc., and won the title “Mr. Dance of a New Generation.” He has dreams of dancing on Broadway someday, but he has plans to attend a college that has both performing arts and entertainment business programs. His long-term goal is to fuse working with non-profit groups to his love of the arts. He is already on his way to accomplishing it. As a teacher at a local dance studio, he was approached three years ago by one of his students, a nine year-old girl. Her mother had had recurring bouts with cancer, and this young girl told him that she wanted to “fight back against cancer.” Jeff contacted the girl’s mother, and they collaborated to put on a fundraising variety show called “Perform for A Cure.” Now in its third year, the show, in which all the performers are under the age of 21, will be held on March 16th at Scarborough High School. Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society and to the Cancer Community Center in South Portland.Jeff has a long list of accolades, but he says working with children is his greatest reward. “When the Key Club brought teddy bears to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, and I saw the smile on a little girl’s face, I knew for sure we were doing something good. Nothing else compares to what we do for children.” As he writes his farewell address as district governor, Jeff looks forward to summer nights spent with friends on Ferry Beach. “That’s my release,” he says. 

Scarborough 350: Carroll Tiernan

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

I met Carroll Tiernan my first summer here, when I began volunteering at the nature center at Scarborough Marsh. As the retail sales and facility rental manager at Maine Audubon in Falmouth, she would pop in periodically at the gift store at the marsh to see how everything was going. Carroll has lived in Scarborough for 30 years, but she is originally from New Jersey and grew up in Essex County, about 20 miles from where I lived when I worked there. Although she was raised in an urban environment, Carroll says, “I’m not a city person. I wanted to get away from New York City.”

Initially, she moved to southwest New Hampshire, but she longed to be closer to the ocean. “I like the smell of salt water. I guess it’s because I’m a Cancer — that’s a water sign,” she says.Carroll had spent summers in Maine, renting rooms at the Pride Motel. When she moved here, Carroll chose to live in Scarborough because she had a job as a racing official at Scarborough Downs. Later she worked as a teacher’s assistant at the Blue Point School. She lived for a time at Pine Point and says she used to run on the beach every day, regardless of the weather. She makes her home in north Scarborough now, but loves taking her grandson, Jack, to Pine Point Beach and scrambling with him out on the jetty. Carroll began her career with Maine Audubon by volunteering at Scarborough Marsh in 1982. The following two summers she was a paid staffer at the marsh; she was hired as a full time staffer at Audubon headquarters in Falmouth in 1985. Anyone who has visited the great gift shop there will know her by her lilting voice and her dedication to customer service. 

Scarborough 350: Mike Bunting

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

This year the town of Scarborough, Maine, is celebrating its 350th anniversary. A number of events will be held over the course of the year to celebrate. I want to make a contribution to the historical record of the town by taking a snapshot in time of some of the people that live here, the people that I’ve gotten to know since moving here and making Scarborough my home. My goal is to feature a person or persons each week of 2008 on my blog — to write a small profile about them and their relationship to Scarborough. I’m a little behind in getting this project off the ground, so I’ll double up on profiles until I get caught up.

The first Scarborough resident I met was my realtor, Mike Bunting. Like me, Mike is a transplant. He moved to Maine from Vermont in 1985 for a job transfer when he worked at Dun and Bradstreet. He got his real estate license in 1987 and began working with Mark Stimson Associates. The company was sold a couple of times over the years, so Mike is now a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, although his office has remained in the same location on Baxter Blvd. in Portland for the past 20 years. He and his wife Beth, who works at Bowdoin College, moved to Scarborough in 1995. They chose it because it was a “good family town,” and it has great beaches and good schools. Mike says, “Scarborough is a close-knit family community that offers much more than we first saw when we moved here.” His daughters, Sarah and Emily, are avid skiers, like their dad. Sarah swims and plays field hockey at the high school; Emily swims and plays soccer at the middle school. His family loves going to Scarborough Beach. Mike volunteered on the Conservation Commission for three years and coached girls soccer for four years through community services. While he has received numerous achievement awards in the real estate industry, Mike says his greatest satisfaction on the job comes from helping people like me, people who feel nervous or overwhelmed by home buying. He says, “I want my customers to know they don’t have to worry about the process. That’s what I’m here for.” Even though my home purchase was completed two years ago, Mike has remained a resource for me. He continues to answer questions I have about home ownership, and the recommendations he has made when I’ve needed to find various service people have all been aces.