Imagine leaving your house one morning and returning in the afternoon to a house transformed both inside and out.

Thanks to the Sargent Family Community Fund (SFCF) and roughly 50 volunteers, this is what Judy Quimby had the pleasure to experience on Wednesday, July 13th.

Craig Sargent, founder of Just One Day (J1D), explained the community work event to me.

Although there is no official process, each year individuals are nominated to receive this great gift of renovation. Nominations are received through word of mouth by November. Sargent explained the kind of person who is selected. “Somebody that can use a helping hand, that has been actively involved in the community for a long time. Somebody that has a house, that is solid, in pretty good shape. They might just not have the resources to make it the beautiful property that it could be. And that’s both on the inside of the building, the outside of the building, and especially the fields and gardens (in this particular case).”

A committee decides who will be the fortunate recipient and the person is told by the person who nominated them of their good fortune on Christmas Eve.

(I imagine the visit is like the knock on the door from Publishers Clearing House. In this case it was Tricia Roy who nominated Quimby and she and her husband Brian were the bearers of the good news.)


The lucky person then has a couple of months to put together their wish list. The J1D committee promises they will do the best they can. Photos of the property in question are taken and by March or April, the team leaders are chosen, and the project list is finalized. A call for volunteers is never made. It’s more word of mouth. As this was the eighth year in a row, many of the volunteers were repeat contributors. As a matter of fact, this year there were about 15-20 people more than needed. Sargent estimates that when all is said and done it was about 70k worth of donated work, materials, and time.

“I guess that as I get older, I would like to be able to do more and more.”

For this reason, the SFCF, a 501c3, will be looking for both corporate and individual donations going into 2023. “As this thing has gotten bigger and bigger, and especially with oil prices out of control and propane prices and gasoline prices, we know there is going to be such a need for help in Rangeley.”

Sargent figures if he could get the budget up to $100k, he and his wife Sharon (an “instrumental partner”) could match the donations and they “could do 2 or 3 properties all at once, all in the same day. And that’s what my goal is.”

From all accounts this year’s event was a smashing success. Sargent, “I thought it was as close to perfect as perfect could come because the first thing is you need to have the right amount of people and the second thing is you have to be blessed with good weather. We had 47 people show up as volunteers and we had just a beautiful day. Not too hot, not too cold, and no bugs. Perfect.” He likened the event to Christmas in July.

Sargent, President of North American Insurance Alliance, is no stranger to hard work, so he thought this project was relatively easy. “I don’t mean to say that it isn’t without it’s challenges but I’m saying when you have people like Chris Farmer that primarily runs the whole project, when you have Tricia Roy and Margaret White that are in charge of all the volunteers that help cleaning, when you have Joe George, Steve Power from Power Landscaping, Smokey from A-One Builders, and then you have the people from Lester Gage Painting, Doug Gage and his partner- When you have all of these people and they know exactly what they’re supposed to do, all we have to do is put them in a position where they are there before anyone else, (if they must get their stuff done first). Everything is well coordinated by the team leaders. We just help choose the team leaders so that it’s not the same people every single year. If you put all of these key players together and tell them what it is you would like them to do, then all I have to do is get out of the way.”


Although Quimby knew renovations were to be made, was she still surprised to see items on her wish list come true? “Oh, I was. I kept crying. And I don’t like people to see me cry but the tears just kept on coming.”

So how did this community work event come about? Well, I got the impression that giving back to the community is something he and his wife Sharon, who he calls his “instrumental partner”, and their family, have always made time in their lives for. You might remember their efforts delivering meals at the onset of the pandemic, or the recent co-sponsoring of the July 3rd fireworks, or maybe any of the community events hosted by “Sarges”, but Sargent assures me he is happy to do it.

“No one gets greater enjoyment out of this. We’re tied with the person who is actually the recipient for how good you feel. We’re just blessed that we’re in this position financially to be able to do this. And if you look at people like Beth Brunswick, isn’t that what it’s all about? It’s the people that come here, that have the ability to give back to the community. It’s just, there is no greater feeling.”

Well, Quimby was feeling pretty great too. Just think. After she left the house around 8 in the morning, teams set to work. A team for the first floor, a team for the 2nd floor, floors were leveled, sheet rocking was done, new floors, old septic tanks and pipes dug out, new plumbing, new leach field, carpets were replaced, ceilings painted to cover old water damage, and the icing on the cake was the landscaping. (For a complete list and more information, please see the SIDE BAR)

All the teams were wearing J1D yellow shirts (donated by Mainiacs), and all wearing smiles. I know they were enjoying the beautiful day and worthwhile volunteer work, and by 2pm, Quimby returned home and was truly amazed.

Quimby, “They had a good time I guess, but boy they did a lot. It was like 10 Christmases all in one! I can’t ever pay all of these people back. They’re wonderful people.”


I assured her that she had pre-paid the community for all of her contributions throughout the years.

Quimby responded, “Everyone said I deserve it but honestly I tell you if I died tomorrow I have lived a good life because every job that I had, I worked in the telephone office, and from there I worked in the medical office, I loved the patients, did that for 29 years and then for 17 years I took care of little kids and still do, and that is the most wonderful job, hugs and kisses the best pay you can get.”

As you can see from the photo, Craig got a big and well-deserved hug.

Craig Sargent receives a big hug from Judy Quimby. Tami McGarvey




Craig Sargent, fresh off the mower.

Emotional and grateful tears of joy.



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