JAY — Barbara Cook didn’t have a clue when she was asked to do a presentation on volunteerism on Tuesday night that it would be she who would be recognized.

Members of North Jay Grange No. 10 honored her with the 2014 Community Citizen Award for her “outstanding service to this community and mankind.”

She was chosen because of all the volunteer work she does, Marilyn Morse, lecturer, said.

“I was very much surprised,” Cook, 66, said. “I have volunteered for years, so it was just another day to go do something for someone.”

She has been involved with AMVETS Special Olympics Committee for decades and goes up to Sugarloaf each year to help out and cheer on the athletes.

She has helped raise money for coats for schoolchildren in the area, most recently through Spirit of the Season. Between 2008 and 2012, 390 coats were purchased. She is also involved in organizing the Independence Day Parade in Jay and Livermore Falls.


Cook also has served on the Jay Planning Board for nearly 30 years.

Her volunteerism doesn’t stop there; she has served in officer positions in the VFW Post 3335 Auxiliary and went on to serve at the state level.

She also gives her time to help veterans at the Togus Maine Veterans Administration Medical Center. She oversees the organization and collection of comfort items, such as toiletries, for veterans at the center, as well as making sure veterans are remembered on their birthday.

She shares her volunteer spirit with her granddaughter, Katrina Cook, 11, who lives nearby.

After the barn at Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore burned on April 28, 2008, Katrina wanted to raise some chickens for the center.

Cook agreed to raise the chicks with her but stressed to her granddaughter she would need to come over before and after school to feed them, she said.


They got 12 chickens and raised them.

Katrina followed her grandmother’s instructions and raised money, saving it to pay for grain to feed the chickens. When they were ready, Katrina handed them over to Norlands’ historic farmer, Ray Fleury, and told him how to care for them, Cook said.

Cook was raised on a farm in Fayette and is no stranger to hard work. She and her late husband had a farm in Jay before it burned in 1989. She would cut, saw and split wood, hay the fields and butcher the chickens.

She also was the innovator behind the annual Christmas light parade, which began in 1998 or 1999. It is still held each December and is now linked to the Spirit of the Season event in Jay and Livermore Falls.

She is also a prize-winning cook and had her own catering business, Forever Classic, before she retired.

Representatives of the grange presented Cook with a certificate and a marble paperweight. Local grange member Mavis Lane also presented her with 100 handmade hat-and-mitten sets to go with the coats for children’s project, Morse said.


Cook’s calendar is full and each day is organized.

“I like volunteering,” Cook said. “I’ve always helped out. I get satisfaction out of helping others.”

When one job is done, she moves on to the next one.

“I program my brain to what I am going to do,” she said. “I do it, then, when the day is over, I do something else.”


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