It has been about a month since most people in the Rangeley area started taking the COVID-19 crisis seriously. Since then so much has happened that it is very hard to keep up. As the Rangeley Highlander comes out only ever other week it is likely that information or contacts have changed by the time some readers in places like New York or Florida receive their newspaper subscription and so I hesitate to offer certain bits of information. What I can share is that for the most part, everyone I speak with is very proud of what our area is doing to help one another.

RLRS School Principal Georgia Campbell, “Even though our school is very quiet these days, students continue to learn. We implemented remote learning beginning on March 19, 2020. It looks a little different at each level (elementary, middle and high school) but across the board teachers are working incredibly hard to support their students and parents during this trying time. Our support staff is also assisting individual students from a distance with the use of technology. It is not perfect, but everyone is taking it in stride and some are getting quite creative! All children in the area, from age 0 to 18, are eligible for free breakfast and lunch. Meals are packaged up and sent out to three stops via a school bus to Magalloway, Oquossoc and Sandy River and by a drive-thru stop at school. All of us here at RLRS are grateful for the amazing support from parents and the community. We will get through this together.”

School work packets ready to head home for grades PK-5


Meal delivery bus

What started out as conversation among a handful of Rangeley Lakes Regional School teachers while on the bus on the first day of delivering school lunches, about how the community always rises to the occasion during any time of crisis, became a term that locals now use when they shine light or share their community spirit in a variety of ways.

Back on March 27th a page on Facebook called RANGELEY RISES was formed by Brittany DiPompo, Lindsey O’Neill Savage, Michelle Laliberte and Beth Eastlack with the simple and proud statement, “How lucky are we to be a part of the Rangeley community. A community that consistently rises to the occasion in times of need, in times of celebration and victory, and even in uncertainty.”

The phrase and hashtag became popular enough that the beautiful design was made into a t-shirt with proceeds of course to be donated to the cause. While t-shirts were supposed to be printed on a limited basis, at the time of this article there will be a second round of ordering due to popular demand. Not surprisingly, in keeping with the spirit Jim Jannace of Backwoods donated over half of the t-shirt cost to the Friends Helping Friends Food program.

Speaking of which, the Friends Helping Friends Food program, in case you missed the last issue is the quickly formed program that was started to help feed those in need. To date there have been over 2700 meals that have been either delivered or picked up between 12-1pm at the Oquossoc Grocery porch or in front of Sarge’s Pub & Grub seven days a week.

Keep in mind this takes so much coordination between the various people and restaurants. Through rain or snow, they take turns ordering food, food preparation, cooking, packing the take out boxes, delivering, providing masks and gloves, setting up, etcetera. I mean this is really quite a production and potentially logistic nightmare to undertake and yet from all accounts they are doing a truly outstanding job. It’s kind of funny to me because for years, unlike city folk, we had no food delivery whatsoever, and yet here we are, haha! Friends in need- indeed!

One friend in need I have to mention is Domenic Pono of Dom’s Auto & Jeep Repair who took it upon himself to build SANITIZING STATIONS outside of the Rangeley and Oquossoc Post Offices so people could have a safe way to pick up their mail. This is just above and beyond and I think so many people would like to shake his hand in appreciation, (when it is safe of course)!

Dom’s cleaning station outside the Rangeley Post Office Stephanie Chu-O’Neil

No surprise Rangeley Health and Wellness and Moose Alley rose to the occasion by teaming up to provide Emergency Food Boxes every Wednesday filled with essential food items to meet the needs of this community during this crisis. Donations from the Good Shephard Food Bank, the Rangeley Food Bank, The Betterment Fund, and caring individuals have helped to launch this program where community members are able to pick up a box of food, large or small between the hours of 10-1:30 at Moose Alley each Wednesday.

In addition, the latest update on what Rangeley Health and Wellness is offering is as follows:

•Ascent is offering PT services on Tuesday and Thursdays for essential post op patients. They have added a tele-health option as well and can be reached at 864-3332 ext 3.
•Rangeley Fitness Center is offering online Circuit and Zumba classes through their FB page. Lindsay will also work with folks on an individual basis [email protected]
•Joanne Dickson is offering Behavioral Health Services for those struggling to access services. [email protected]
•RHW’s Neighbors Calling Neighbors will provide daily phone calls to combat isolation. Call Joanne Dickson at 670-5236 to schedule a daily call.

Another shout out has to go to the grocery stores and restaurants that are doing a great job providing this now regular service of curb side pick up. They do it safely, they do it well, and they do it with a smile! We appreciate you truly!

Although many small businesses are hurting financially, there are many people who are doing their best to help in any way they can. Without getting into detail, I have heard so much gratitude for the crucial information that has been spread by people like Steve Philbrick, Michael Bacon and Nancy Bessey.

The tireless work of our community bank representatives, especially Leeanna Wilbur of Franklin Savings Bank and Chris Farmer of Skowhegan Savings Bank has not gone unnoticed! I can’t even imagine what we would do without these hardworking and compassionate individuals.

Like I mentioned I cannot keep account of the many small and large acts of kindness that have been appreciated but if you want to share with me at the Highlander for the next issue please do. For me, I have not given a thumbs up/thumbs down in sometime but I think this would be a good opportunity.

THUMBS UP to the various drive by birthday celebrations! What fun!

The birthday of Larry Koob had I think at least 40 cars drive by and wish him well. Stephanie Chu-O’Neil

THUMBS UP to Rangeley Lakes Builders Supply for donating much needed masks to the Rangeley Fire Department.

THUMBS UP to Randy Goodwin and Perry Fielding for offering well seasoned wood and kindling, plus delivery!

THUMBS UP to Tracie Clinch of Rangeley Heritage Trust for help applying for unemployment!

THUMBS UP to the SNACK PACKS that were donated by IGA and put outside BLUE FLAME.

THUMBS UP to Beth Eastlack and Kelly Stokes for all of the snacks and various goodies placed outside Morton & Furbish. What a treat and incentive for kids to take a nice walk and get some fresh air!

Spring Easter spirit outside of Morton & Furbish where there is always seasonal cheer. Stephanie Chu-O’Neil

THUMBS UP to the teachers of RLRS who are putting out some really great ideas and super engaging videos!

THUMBS UP to the Rangeley Fire/Rescue Department that not only went around town offering a ride to Sparky the Fire Dog and the Easter Bunny to drive around the neighborhood on Saturday but went back again on Sunday for the three houses that missed it! Unbelievably above and beyond, don’t you think?

Rangeley Fire/Rescue Sparky the Fire Dog and the Easter Bunny atop firetruck teamed up to visit children on a memorable Easter weekend. Carl Symes

THUMBS UP to those both near and far who are donating to the various causes!

Speaking of which, I know there are many people who want to know where to send their donations, but I can’t give that out because the situation is changing very rapidly. Depending on the week, different organizations need more than others so by the time you read this, the latest need might be completely different. What I suggest is that you contact any name you see in this article, or any one you have a strong connection with and trust and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Okay, I know I am missing a bunch of people but there are really too many to count. If there was an awards ceremony post crisis I think there would be a really long list and I for one would love to see that happen. If not, I’m thinking these acts of goodwill will go a really long way to further grow an already tight knit and deservingly proud community. Thank you to all of those generous hearts and clever minds that have come together to make Rangeley Rise!



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