“Every time LifeFlight flies over, there is a family behind it,” said Jeri Maurer, director of Guest Relations at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Maurer was talking about the fact that the victim of any crisis handled by LifeFlight usually has a family, and that family is generally from out of town and needs a place to stay locally while their loved one is being treated at the hospital.

Arbor House, CMMC’s hospitality house, is that place, offered free of charge to hospital patients and their families.

The three-story building on the corner of Hammond and Main streets in Lewiston is a former feed store that was renovated into 15 bedrooms, including some one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The patients and their families could be at the hospital for a variety of reasons, ranging from chemotherapy to an auto accident.

The guests are screened to ensure the comfort of everyone staying there and asked to pay $25 a night only if they are a large family and require the full use of a two-bedroom apartment. Otherwise, Arbor House runs on donation only.


“People ask me what I should donate and I tell them to give what they can,” said Pauline Tardiff, the part-time housekeeper at Arbor House for the past 13 years. “For some, they can’t afford to give at all. And that’s OK.”

Tardiff makes sure the floors are clean and the rooms are prepped for the incoming guests of the house, which can sometimes have a waiting list.

Close to 600 people stay at the house each year and most share their stories in journals left around the house.

“One lady whose daughter was in the ICU after a car accident said that this place was the place where she could come and yell and scream and cry so that when she returned to her daughter’s side, she could be strong for her,” said Maurer. “That’s really what this house is all about.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.