Left to right: Lisa Bilodeau, Androscoggin Bank, Colleen Fournier, Androscoggin Bank; Kristal Flagg, K & R Flagg Logging; Russell Flagg, K & R Flagg Logging; John Simko, Androscoggin Bank Photo Courtesy: Androscoggin Bank

JAY – Androscoggin Bank announced today it has secured a $50,000 grant to assist businesses in Jay and surrounding communities who have lost income related to COVID-19. These grants come on the one year anniversary of the explosion of the pulp digester at the Jay mill on April 15, 2020. Seven logging-related businesses who have suffered economic losses and were impacted by the mill explosion and COVID-19, learned they will receive over $7,000 in grants to aid their recovery.

The Bank secured the grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston through its Jobs for New England (JNE) Recovery Grant program. The program provides grants to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. In this case, the grant recipients experienced economic disruptions from both COVID-19 and the mill explosion.

The destruction of the pulp digester led to the layoffs of 177 people and impacted Jay and surrounding communities, including companies that brought wood to the mill and other logging-related businesses.

“The JNE Recovery Grant program provides grants to member banks such as ours to distribute to small businesses who have experienced income loss in the past year during the pandemic,” said John Simko, Vice President of Government Finance at Androscoggin Bank. “Pandemic-related business closures coincided with the unfortunate explosion of the pulp digester at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay. We recognized the financial struggle of many of our bank clients who used to bring wood to the Jay Mill and wanted to help.”

Androscoggin Bank has identified seven businesses who will each receive over $7,000 in grants to help offset financial losses. They include: K & R Flagg Logging, Livermore Falls; Scott Bowen Trucking, Jay; Johnny Castonguay Logging & Trucking, Livermore; Austin’s Excavating and Logging, Canton; Fat Man Trucking, Inc., Jay; Grover Trucking, LLC, Livermore Falls; and Tibbetts Trucking, LLC, Livermore Falls.

“My husband and two sons are loggers,” said Kristal Flagg from K & R Flagg Logging. “When mills shut down or have layoffs, the companies help their employees but the loggers who bring wood to the mill don’t get those same benefits. It’s been a scary year and we’ve done our best to make ends meet. This grant will help us pay some of our equipment debt and we are grateful for this unexpected gift.”

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