RUMFORD — A handmade acoustic guitar will be among the items raffled at this year’s retirement party for maintenance workers at Catalyst Paper mill.

The instrument was made by Tim Rinaldo of Dixfield, a Maintenance Department employee who, along with Judilee Whittemore and other retirement party committee members, organize the annual recognition for retirees and those who have died during the past year.

“My father was a woodworker,” Rinaldo said. “I was in the shop since I was like, 10. I started picking up the guitar early on and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could build an instrument that I could play?’’’ he said.

He credits local craftsman Leo Bolduc with allowing him to apprentice under him when Bolduc was working at the shop of his father, Gil Bolduc.

Leo Bolduc works for world-famous Bourgeois Guitars. 

Rinaldo estimates it took about 50-plus hours to build the guitar, which he had finished at WR Russo custom guitars in Farmington.

Rinaldo said if he were to sell it, he would probably ask $2,000.

The committee is selling raffle tickets for $10 apiece, with proceeds going to offset expenses for the party, which includes a catered meal.

The party is set for Thursday, May 18, at the Rumford Eagles Club.

Retirees, Whittemore said, “get to reminisce with their old co-workers. It’s a really great event, they truly love it. They look forward to it every year. I mean this is probably their one big social time to get out and meet with past co-workers.”

Last year, about 100 people attended the party and about half of them were retirees, she said.

“It used to be about 300 people would show up,” she said, so they held two parties a year.

“It’s a lot of money considering all the retirees eat free, and there’s a lot more of them than there is of us that go to these parties,” Whittemore said.

Other maintenance workers are making items for the raffle.

During the summer, the Maintenance Department committee holds four golf tournaments and donates the money to local charities. In the winter, the group holds ice-fishing derbies to honor co-workers who have died. Their March 11 ice-fishing derby was in honor of Joe Salatino, a co-worker who died of cancer last year, Whittemore said.

Raffle tickets for the guitar are available at Lisa’s Barber Shop and Puiia Lumber Co. in Mexico and Mountain Valley Sports in Dixfield.

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Tim Rinaldo of Dixfield and Judilee Whittemore of Rumford display the acoustic guitar Rinaldo built to raise money for the annual Catalyst Paper mill retirees’ party planned for May. The proceeds will help pay for the party.

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