WILTON — When 14-year-old Tarek Haines of Farmington couldn’t go white-water rafting with classmates Monday because of health restrictions, he went fishing near the boat launch at Wilson Pond.

He did not know it at the time, but his grandmother, Terry Gordon, and his mother, Charity Haines, were keeping a secret.

As Tarek fished, Maine Game Warden Kris MacCabe, one of the stars of “North Woods Law” on Animal Planet cable TV channel, drove into the parking lot with a boat in tow.

MacCabe walked over and greeted Tarek. MacCabe’s wife, Emily, who had arrived in a separate vehicle, got out with her camera. She does communications for the Maine Department of Inland Fishery and Wildlife.

After a couple of minutes of talking to Kris MacCabe, Tarek’s mother told Tarek who he was, which brought a smile to his face.

“Oh, really?” he said.


“North Woods Law” is one of Tarek’s favorite shows. He would like to be a game warden when he grows up, he said.

Since Tarek was 12 years old, he has had five strokes, open-heart surgery and two brain surgeries to remove two of the seven aneurysms on his brain. The other five aneurysms are not growing at this time, so no surgery is scheduled to remove them.

His neurologist could not approve releasing him to go white-water rafting, his mother said.

In October 2013, Tarek had been running a lap as part of youth football practice and collapsed. In the days that followed, doctors found that he had had four strokes and had a tumor on his heart, which has since been removed. He had a fifth stroke when he had his first brain surgery and a seizure during his second surgery in November 2014, Charity Haines said.

Some of Tarek’s health restrictions have been lifted, including the requirement of around-the-clock nursing care. His double-vision corrected itself, his mother, a nurse, said.

He still has some short-term memory issues. Other than that, Tarek said he is doing well. He enjoys the outdoors and loves to fish.


Emily MacCabe presented Tarek with a bag of items with the department’s logo on it.

While Kris MacCabe and Tarek ate pizza and talked, another star from the show arrived — Game Warden Sgt. Scott Thrasher. The plan was to go fishing in the boat.

Tarek was surprised. “I didn’t expect two game wardens,” he said.

The wardens and Tarek walked to the waterfall where the pond drains into Wilson Stream so Tarek could fish. The area is stocked with fish and only children younger than 16 years old are permitted to fish there.

Tarek baited his hook and cast his line into the water. Once in a while, a comment rose above the mild roar of the waterfall, and all eyes turned to see a fish coming over the falls. Wardens gave Tarek tips on fishing the spot and helped set his line, when necessary.

Tarek’s first fish of the day was a sunfish, which was released back into the water.


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