Farmington senior citizen saluted by Baldacci, health group

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AUGUSTA – Gov. John Baldacci recently joined Maine Health Care Association in honoring the accomplishments of 40 people living in the state’s long-term care facilities. The association presented certificates of lifetime achievements to the individuals during a ceremony held in the Hall of Flags at the state house.

The ceremony was part of a photography exhibit, “Remember Me,” and featured the black and white photographs and biographies of the residents living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The exhibit included the photos and biographies of residents from Madawaska to York, Eastport to South Paris. These residents are decorated war heroes, and community leaders such as police chiefs, teachers, doctors, and small business owners.

David Samuel Roberts of Orchard Park Rehabilitation and Living Center in Farmington was honored for his efforts as an American soldier during World War II.

Roberts was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon for the New Guinea and Leyte campaigns. He helped create a beachhead in Luzon, where he received the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.

Roberts was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery in New Guinea. A terrier dog named Scooter adopted Roberts while he was entertaining the troops in a band in New Guinea and the pair became inseparable. He and Scooter jumped behind enemy lines and were listed as “missing in action.” Roberts received special permission from Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s office to bring the dog back to the states. After three years, they headed home.

Roberts returned to work as a salesman at Roberts Paper Co. with his two older brothers and father. They sold custom display jewelry boxes and industrial paper supplies. Roberts met and married Bella Klein, a bookkeeper in a jewelry manufacturing firm and they were married for 57 years.

Although he dropped out of high school to enlist in the Army, Roberts received his General Educational Development certificate at age 60. He had a passion for the English language and many evenings he could be found studying the dictionary.

After retiring in his early 70s as president of Roberts Paper Co., he joined three bands that played swing music and served as president of the Providence Camera Club. Roberts, now 85, is son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Dora and Isadore Roberts of Providence, R.I.

The primary purpose of the Remember Me project was to salute the people who have spent the best years of their lives supporting their families, building their communities and serving their state and country.

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