BUCKFIELD — The Buckfield High School cafeteria was filled recently with residents from Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner for a free dinner made possible by a Homeland Security grant.

Eighty-eight people came for the meal and to hear what they could do to help their community in the event of a disaster. Lynette Miller, communications director and director of special projects for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, was the keynote speaker.

Buckfield Town Manager Glen Holmes welcomed the crowd and introduced Carlene Tremblay, state office representative from Sen. Susan Collins’ office; Diane M. Jackson, regional representative from Sen. Olympia Snowe’s office; and Terry Hayes, state representative.

Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Campbell challenged the group for more volunteer firemen. Buckfield Rescue Chief Lisa Buck said they have 18 volunteers, but needed more. She cited the history of the unit by noting how calls have grown from 13 in the first year, to more than 200 a year now.

George Jones from the Community Emergency Response Team asked people to volunteer and get proper training to help. Darlene Thibeau spoke about bringing pets to the shelter and how they have trained volunteers to manage the pets. Marianne Todd told how the people in Sumner have organized a Neighbors Care program and urged Buckfield and Hartford to start such a program.

Oxford County Emergency Management Director Scott Parker praised the three towns and their Emergency Management Director Tom Standard for setting the standard for the rest of Oxford County. He said they always need willing and trained volunteers to help. 

Each attendee was given a goodie bag containing more information on opportunities to serve.

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