Pam Poisson cuts a dessert at left while Caroleen Caldwell places a bowl of salad on the table Friday night, Dec. 22, at Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 in Farmington. Legionnaires and auxiliary members were asked to feed linemen Thursday and Friday evening who were working to restore power in the region. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — When duty calls, veterans step up to answer. That was the case last week when linemen from out of state needed to be fed while helping Central Maine Power Co. [CMP] restore power to the region following the rain and wind storm earlier in the week.

“I got about 14 calls from different folks,” Stephan Bunker, commander of Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28, said Friday evening, Dec. 22. “One was from University of Maine at Farmington security trying to find overnight accommodations. He called the Police Department, was trying to find out if anyone was open. Police Chief Kenneth Charles called me to see if American Legion could help.”

Bunker asked Charles what he had in mind. Charles asked if the Legion could feed 150 people tomorrow night.

“I started calling people,” Bunker noted. “Put a menu together, went grocery shopping.”

Auxiliary member Pam Poisson said feeding the linemen was put on the Legion’s Facebook page. She had been at home baking desserts. “These guys are doing the hard work,” she stated.

Seated clockwise from left Friday night, Dec. 22, are linemen from Ontario, Canada, Hayden Burns, Ed Toppazzini, Byron Regier, Darren Sheardown and Jamie Quaranta from Niagara Falls, New York, at Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 in Farmington. Legionnaire Ed David is standing at right. Linemen were fed home style meals at the post Thursday and Friday while helping restore power in the region. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Legionnaire Andrew Goodridge said an official count wasn’t taken Thursday night but he expected somewhere between 80 and 110 or so were fed. “We were told it could be up to 155 originally,” he noted. “Not all the contract crews came in. We served them all they could eat. They were happy.”


“They were a wonderful bunch,” Legionnaire Steve Cutler said. “Very cordial, very friendly. They kept saying ‘Thank you.’ This is all they do.”

Cutler said his favorite expression is, “Teamwork makes the dream work. We had no idea what we were doing. We pulled it off.”

“They were so appreciative,” Poisson stated. “They didn’t understand we are the ones that are appreciative.”

Matthew Smith at left takes a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes from Paul Dalrymple Friday night, Dec. 22, at Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 in Farmington. Green beans would be added to each plate before being served to linemen helping to restore power to the region following a rain and wind storm earlier in the week. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“Henderson Memorial Baptist Church made us 10 pies, five dozen rolls,” Bunker stated. “The challenge was: area restaurants were out of power or had staffing issues. We are used to cooking for large groups. We do it several times a year.

“We have a good team, it worked so well they asked if we could do it two nights. Here we are.”

The linemen have an itinerary, eat a lot of fast food, Bunker said. “To be able to sit down and eat a family style meal was a big treat for them,” he noted.


Paul Dalrymple said the linemen often get pastries and coffee for lunch, weren’t that interested in desserts Thursday night.

The dining area is filled with linemen Friday night, Dec. 22, at Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 in Farmington. Home style meals were served the linemen Thursday and Friday while they worked to restore power to the region. Submitted photo

The linemen assisting CMP were with Holland Power Services which has an office in Ellsworth and four others in Canada: New Brunswick, Ontario [two] and Quebec. The company specializes in power restoration services for customers in the US, Canada and other locations. It has a fleet of more than 250 trucks and 450 personnel.

Poisson said it is typical for Mainer’s and Canadians to go back and forth across the border to assist each other. Farmington Fire Rescue Department went to assist with the explosion in Lac Megantic, she noted. When Tim Hardy was asked at the border if he was the only one and he replied that all those red lights behind were with him, officials opened the border and let them all through, she stated.

“It’s not unusual for Maine to help out,” she noted. “Vice versa is good. I sang the Canada National Anthem last night, asked if they wanted it sung in English or French. They asked for English, were surprised anyone in the United States knew it.”

Poisson said most of those eating Thursday were from the Windsor, Ontario, area of Canada just north of Buffalo, New York. Two in the group were American citizens, she noted.

Shortly afterwards the first few linemen – Jamie Quaranta from Niagara Falls, New York, along with Darren Sheardown, Byron Regier, Hayden Burns and Ed Toppazzini of Ontario – showed up to eat. They were asked for their drink preference, could choose from coffee, tea, water or several soda choices. One lineman asked for root beer as he said it had been a long time since he had had one. Bowls of salad were put in front of each man. An auxiliary member said if the type of salad dressing they preferred wasn’t at their table they could take it from another one.


“This is what is called unorganized terror,” Dalrymple said. “But we get it done.”

Toppazzini said he came out of retirement to help with the restoration. “The hardest thing is learning your way around and there are a lot of trees,” he noted. “We got lucky on this one. The weather was beautiful. The public is all appreciative, several came out to thank us.”

Poisson said one lineman told her he had a sub at lunch and he threw the bread away because he didn’t want to get filled up before tonight. “A lot of these guys were here last night,” she noted. “We kind of made friends with them.”

“One guy had four bowls of salad last night,” Dalrymple said. “It was what they wanted.”

Three large bowls of salad were served Thursday, more would have used if it was available, an auxiliary member noted.

For Goodridge, there was satisfaction in hearing the meal was enjoyed. “They are so happy when they come in,” he said.


Matt Smith agreed it was gratifying. He prepared the meatloaf for Friday’s meal. It was so thick it took two hours and ten minutes to cook, he noted.

“The community was very generous in supporting Post 28,” Legionnaire Ed David stated. “We are pleased to give back to the community by feeding these hardworking linemen.”

The linemen left a card Friday night stating, “All the guys loved the hospitality and the food! With sincere gratitude.”

On Tuesday, Holland Power Services posted on its Facebook page, “After 10 days of activation, our crews were released and are on their way home. Despite the complex activations to numerous utilities, long hours, and adverse weather conditions, our crews remained committed to restoring power and ensuring the safety of the affected communities. … We’d like to thank Swiss Chalet Fredericton, Pamela Poisson with the American Legion from Farmington, Maine, and anyone else who housed us, fed us, and/or sent us a kind message or words of support, we’ve really felt the appreciation from everyone.”

Bunker said Tuesday he received a call from Dave Weiss, operations supervisor for CMP from Hallowell. The Franklin Journal contacted Weiss for additional information for this article, but did not receive a response.

On Wednesday, Bunker indicated 120 linemen – a combination of CMP and contract workers – were served spaghetti and meat sauce, rolls, tossed salad, desserts including pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, fruit, sodas, coffee, tea, and water Thursday night. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes. green beans, bread/rolls, tossed salads, desserts and beverages were served to 80 on Friday, he noted.

More than a dozen Legionnaires, auxiliary and citizen volunteers helped during one or both meals, Bunker said.

“CMP assisted toward costs of  food,” Bunker stated. “Legion provided the labor and facility, cooking and cleanup. A joint effort, with community support. Many added donations came from the community. Many citizens brought in baked goods of all types. Regional School Unit 9 provided bread, milk and fruit cups.”

“It was a privilege being asked to support feeding the line crews for two nights and I am certainly grateful for the volunteer support from our Legion family and the community, Goodridge stated Wednesday. “People want to feel useful, contribute and return kindness to one another in the face of an event like this storm. Feeding hungry workers is a small act with a large impact.”

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