Peru Select Board Vice Chairwoman Gail Belyea presents Spirit of America Tributes on June 17 to Peru Snowmobile Club members Greg Freeman, left, and Neil Sorensen at the Town Office. The two men have been grooming and maintaining 52 miles of trails in town for a combined 52 years. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

PERU — Greg Freeman and Neil Sorensen have dedicated themselves to grooming and maintaining 52 miles of snowmobile trails in town for a combined 51 years.

In recognition of their community service, the Peru Snowmobile Club members were each presented with the town’s 2024 Spirit of America Tribute at the Select Board meeting June 17.

“They reflect the ideal of volunteerism inherent in the Spirit of America,” Vice Chairwoman Gail Belyea said when presenting the tributes.

The Spirit of America Foundation Tribute is given annually in the name of 100-plus Maine municipalities to recognize community volunteers.

Reading from the municipal resolution, Belyea said Freeman serves as a trail master, project director and groomer operator. He has been a member for 25 years, 14 of them as a project director and groomer operator. As project director, he applies for and receives grant money each year, makes all landowner contacts for the club, requests 91 permission slips from landowners for use of their properties, and performs state-required trail inspections.

Sorensen has been a member for 26 years, assisting the trail master, maintaining the three groomers and never missed a day of grooming for 26 years.


The club has 31 members and there are 100 licensed machines in Peru.

“We want to thank the town,” Freeman said, because snowmobile registration money is given to the club for trail work “and that helps a lot. We do a lot of excavating, bridge work, etc. Every little bit helps.”

He said bridges and trails were damaged by a flood last December and storms this spring spring. “We have a lot of work to do this fall. We have a couple of bridges that need repair.”

Freeman continued, “We love the sport. We’ll be snowmobiling forever. We take pride in what we have. We’ve been told we have some of the best trails around. One of the reasons is that we don’t get the traffic they get in Rumford north, like to Rangeley. We’re very dedicated to how our trails look.”

Sorensen said their primary groomer was built in 1994. “We probably have the oldest groomer around here,” he said. “It runs well and we groom well with it.”

Freeman noted that Sorensen also does 90% of the maintenance on the groomers.

Club membership costs $30, with half of it going to the club and the rest to the state. Membership cards are available at the Town Office.

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