The recent story that summarized RSU 16 school bus driver Mike Downing, based on a few remarks without the context in which they were said, could not be further from the truth as to who he is. It was a character assassination.

Downing has worked for his community for 30-plus years as a bus driver, transportation director, coach, police officer and a past school board member.

He has dedicated countless hours of time to the community.

He has coached women’s softball teams and has traveled throughout the country with them to compete.

He has driven the children of this community to school, to sporting events and cheered the children of this community on as he enjoyed watching those events.

Despite his choice of words, he has served this community for nearly four decades.


No explanation was offered as to what triggered the comments. The purpose of this letter is not to defend or condone offensive words, but to represent that a measure of a man demands much more. If every person were to submit themselves to the undeniable truth, we would realize that each of us is guilty of frequently having a thought or having said something that is offensive to someone else.

We certainly hope that anyone who has made a remark, whether out of frustration or anger — maybe toward a spouse, friend or their own child in a snapshot of time — would not have that be the defining measure of who they are.

Mark Chase, Mechanic Falls

Al Connolly, Poland

Nick Strout, Poland

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