REGION — Three men with local ties were part of Maine Health Care Association’s 21st Remember ME photography exhibition.

The exhibit honors the accomplishments of 28 people living in the state’s long term care facilities. Honorees were recognized during a ceremony held Thursday, May 9, at the Augusta Civic Center.

Russell “Rusty” Christensen is one of 28 residents of assisted living facilities honored in the 21st Remember ME photo exhibition. He spent his early retirement years in Farmington. Submitted photo

Russell “Rusty” Christensen is a resident at Maine Veterans’ Homes-Machias. Born in Mt. Vernon, New York, his family moved to Richmond and he graduated from Gardiner High School, according to his Remember ME biography.

“Rusty graduated from Middlebury College in 1958 with a degree in philosophy, with a memorable stint at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland,” the biography continued. “Later, he pursued law, obtaining a Doctor of Jurisprudence from New York University School of Law in 1965. Retirement didn’t deter Rusty’s intellectual pursuits. Nestled in Farmington, he dedicated time to writing, reading, and documenting his experiences. Now, with ten grandchildren, Rusty remains active in Maine Veterans’ Homes–Machias, engaging in activities, sharing his rich life story, and nurturing his thirst for knowledge at 93 years young.”

The Franklin Journal spoke with Christensen on May 17.

“I used the GI Bill to go to school because I couldn’t afford to go on my own,” he said. “I needed to get the money from the government.”


Christensen said he moved to Farmington because he had a girlfriend in “a little town outside of Farmington.” When asked, he indicated the town was Temple. “I spent a lot of time with her,” he noted. “She died, she had lots of different diseases.”

Christensen liked to dance, especially the jitterbug. His girlfriend danced a few times with him. He attended dances in Farmington, Gardiner and at out-of-state locations.

He wrote mostly for himself, thought of writing for other people but never got around to it. Christensen said he did write letters to the editor.

Having a university was what he liked most about Farmington. “I attended some classes there,” he said. “It wasn’t in regular enrollment, it was on an ad hoc basis. I wasn’t after a degree.”

“Farmington is a nice college town,” Christensen stated. “I was able to take some classes there that I wasn’t able to at Middlebury and at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.”

Christensen said he traveled quite a bit. “I was in the service in Korea,” he stated. “I have been to Honduras, El Salvador and other Central American countries, Chile, British Columbia, Scotland, Russia and Paris.” The most unusual country for him was Russia with its Dr. Zhivago connections.


In Farmington Christensen went fishing and had a vegetable garden where he grew tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, carrots, and cucumbers. He said his favorite to grow were carrots, “because of the vitamins they have. Also they are good for the eyes.”

Leo Gallant is one of 28 residents from Maine assisted living facilities recognized in the 21st Remember ME photo exhibit. He was born in Wilton. Submitted photo

Leo Gallant resides at Chase Point Assisted Living in Damariscotta. He was born in 1933 in Wilton, according to his Remember ME biography. “He attended the Northrup Aeronautical Institute while working for Douglas Aircraft Corp from 1952 to 1953,” it noted. “Following graduation, military service beckoned, where Leo served dutifully for two years before embarking on a series of roles within the aviation industry.”

Gallant’s daughter, Diane Marion lives in Union. “Dad worked at the local paper mill in Jay for about a year and a half, went to California right around 1950,” she said in a recent phone interview while visiting him. “He hasn’t been back there to live.”

Marion told of her dad riding his bike to play pool in Wilton. “There was a pool hall/bowling place right on Main Street,” Gallant said.

“He used to be pretty good at playing pool,” Marion noted.

Gallant’s wife was from Livermore Falls. “They got married in 1955 then went to Fort Bragg to live until dad got out of the service,” Marion said. “When he got out of the service they came back to Maine but they lived in southern Maine. They lived in Warren for close to 54 years. Dad moved to Chase Point with my mom, she passed in March. She was in the memory care side, they were still together.”


Marion shared a story from Gallant’s aviation career. “He always wondered about sky divers, said, “I don’t understand why anybody would want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane,”” she noted. “Then when he retired he was wintering in Florida next to an airport. My dad was 75 years old. His 80 year old friend Tim talked him into going sky diving.”

She said her husband caught up with Gallant afterwards, reminded her dad of his thoughts on sky diving. “He came back without hesitation, “There is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane,”” she noted. “That is his typical humor. He is loaded with a wonderful sense of humor to this day.”

Homan Day Ferguson is one of 28 residents from assisted living facilities in Maine honored in the 21st Remember ME photo exhibit. He lived at Edgewood Rehabilitation & Care Center in Farmington at the time of his death, was originally from the Rangeley area. Submitted photo

Holman Day Ferguson was included in the Remember ME exhibit in memoriam. He had been a resident at Edgewood Rehabilitation & Living Center in Farmington.

Holman Day Ferguson, born in Rangeley, Maine, on May 31, 1935, was deeply rooted in the land of his birth, according to his biography. “Growing up in Sandy River Plantation, amidst the rugged beauty of Maine, he attended the local one-room schoolhouse before abruptly departing from formal education,” it notes. “At 17, he embarked on a lifelong journey with his beloved Wanda, marrying in Canada and returning to the family land where they would spend the next seven decades raising their family. Holman’s livelihood mirrored the rugged landscape he inhabited. From wielding a chainsaw in the woods to co-founding construction and excavation companies, he shaped the land as much as it shaped him.”

Holman’s expertise with heavy machinery became the stuff of local lore, the bio stated. “His mastery extended beyond construction, using his prized excavator for tasks as varied as splitting wood, clearing snow, and, much to Wanda’s dismay, uprooting potatoes from her garden,” it noted. “Beyond his work, Holman was a pillar of his community, serving in various municipal roles for over three decades, embodying the essence of leadership and responsibility. Holman Day Ferguson epitomized resilience, embodying the spirit of Maine’s rugged individualism. His unwavering dedication to his land, his family, and his community left an indelible mark on those who knew him.”

The primary purpose of Remember ME is to salute the people who have spent their lives supporting their families, building their communities, and serving their state and country, according to an email sent to The Franklin Journal, The project also urges the public, including lawmakers, to remember the selfless contributions of our elderly and disabled citizens who now depend on others for their care and safety, it noted.

Every honoree had made remarkable contributions to their community, according to MHCA President & CEO Angela Westhoff. “After giving to others for much of their lives, they now depend on us for their daily medical and social care, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” she noted. “This recognition ceremony is our tribute to their years of hard work.”

Since its inception, the Remember ME program has recognized over 700 long term care residents statewide.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.