New Three Rivers Kiwanis home will help build a better community

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    MILO — Since being chartered in November of 1991, the Three Rivers Kiwanis Club of Milo and Brownville has worked to strengthen the community through a number of programs. The organization will be able to carry out its mission now through a new building, funded by benefactors and members Tom and Nancy Harrigan, and foundation, which both were celebrated during a grand opening ceremony on the morning of July 30.

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    NEW HOME FOR THE THREE RIVERS KIWANIS — A ribbon cutting on July 30 formally opened the new building for the Three Rivers Kiwanis Club of Milo and Brownville, located at 24 Gerrish Road in Milo at the entrance to the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park. Doing the honors are building benefactors Nancy and Tom Harrigan, center. From left are Three Rivers Kiwanis Treasurer Pauline Mullins, member Edwin Treworgy, Incoming President Brenda Kelley, the Harrigans, President David Pullen and Secretary Cheryl Zeh.

    Located by the entrance to the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park, the new building is the new home of the Three Rivers Kiwanis — which previously met at the Milo Town Hall and held events at various locations across the area. The grand opening ceremony drew members of the Kiwanis and other clubs from New England Division 2, area residents, representatives from the region’s and Maine’s legislative delegation and Gov. Paul LePage.
    “We are very happy to have all of you here. This is a once in a lifetime gift from two of the most generous people you will ever know,” MC Eben DeWitt said about the Harrigans in his opening remarks to the crowd gathered in the covered outdoor area of the new building. DeWitt said the building will be a home for the Three Rivers Kiwanis for many years to come and the structure “will become an integral part of the Milo/Brownville community.”

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    CONGRATS FROM THE GOVERNOR — Maine Gov. Paul LePage spoke at the grand opening celebration and dedication of the Three Rivers Kiwanis’ new building at the entrance to the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park in Milo on the morning of July 30. The governor praised the community service of the organization and thanked building benefactors Nancy and Tom Harrigan, seated to the right with State Rep. Paul Davis, ceremony MC Eben DeWitt and Kiwanis President David Pullen to the left.

    He said a pancake breakfast in September and a hunter’s breakfast are already planned, which will be served in the large dining room and prepared in the building’s kitchen. DeWitt said Bobby Ellison will be the inaugural building manager as the site is used by the Kiwanis and others going forward.
    The Kiwanis was formed in 1915 “and if you do the math we are 99 years old and next year will be the 100th anniversary,” DeWitt said, adding that membership was opened to women in 1987. “Our club, the Three Rivers Kiwanis of Milo and Brownville, is 23 years old. We have been very effective, I think, in this community.”
    The ceremony included the introduction of club members from elsewhere in New England Division 2, a history of the Kiwanis’ red jackets by Ethelyn Treworgy and a performance by “Stephanie’s Kids” before remarks by Gov. LePage.

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    LEGISLATIVE SENTIMENT — State Rep. Paul Davis, right, presented Nancy and Tom Harrigan with an official commendation from the Maine Legislature for their generosity in being the benefactors of the new Three Rivers Kiwanis building.

    In his introduction of the governor, State Rep. Paul Davis (R-Sangerville) thanked the Harrigans, saying, “If not for their kind generosity, we wouldn’t be here today.”
    “This is big, this is big for our children — it’s important for our children,” Gov. LePage said. “I do want to congratulate Tom and Nancy Harrigan, this is great charity and a great thing to do for your community.
    “I have lived the American dream and it is because of people like you who helped me through my early years. This is really a great thing for the kids, your town and the state of Maine.”
    Gov. LePage stressed the importance of honoring members of the military and veterans, saying in terms of percentage of population who have served Maine is second only to Alaska in the U.S. and with twice the population of the northernmost state.
    He said it is also vital to teach younger generations about the work and sacrifices made by present and past members of the armed forces. “This is what Kiwanis does,” he said. “Today is not only a proud day for Milo and Brownville, but for the entire state of Maine,” with community serving the community.

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    DINING AND MEETING ROOM — The new home of the Three Rivers Kiwanis of Milo and Brownville includes a large area for serving meals and various functions for the club and others in the community.

    Following the governor’s remarks, Kiwanis Lt. Gov. Peter Bosse said before assuming this position he was unaware of all the service projects carried about by the various Kiwanis clubs. He then presented the Three Rivers Kiwanis with a $500 check to help the organization continue its backpack program, which provides students in need with backpacks filled with food for when school is not in session.
     “I would like to congratulate the club and Tom and Nancy on the building,” Milo Town Manager David Maynard said, saying the building is not completely finalized but a great deal of work has been done in a short amount of time. Maynard thanked the Three Rivers Kiwanis for all the club does in town and he said it is an honor to be a member.
    Rep. Davis presented the Harrigans with a Legislative Sentiment congratulating them on the new building. He said such proclamations are designed to bring honor to the recipients, but the Harrigans “bring honor onto us.” Sitting behind the podium the two then stood as those in attendance gave them a standing ovation.

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    JUST OFF PARK STREET — Passers-by on outer Park Street (Route 11) in Milo will see the new Three Rivers Kiwanis building at 24 Gerrish Road, located at the start of the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park.

    “I really want to thank the Kiwanis for what they have done for MSAD 41,” School Board Chair Don Crossman said. “It’s made a difference in our community and hopefully you continue for many years to come.”
    “I want to congratulate the Three Rivers Kiwanis for the beautiful building,” Piscataquis County Commissioners Chair Jim Annis said. He recalled campaigning in Milo back when the spot was just a field and thanked the Harrigans for their generosity.
    Three Rivers Kiwanis President David Pullen said he joined the Three Rivers Kiwanis several years ago. “About that time I learned of this dream of Tom’s to have a Kiwanis building,” he said. “Tom and Nancy had the vision and they had the means, and they have been extremely generous.”
    “I appreciate everybody coming and helping us celebrate today,” Tom Harrigan said. He said about four years ago his wife said the Three Rives Kiwanis could do more with a place of its own to stage events and be representative of the club. Harrigan said existing structures were looked at “but none of them would do.”
    Harrigan said discussions with Ron Desmarais led to a the idea of a lot at the business park being an ideal spot for a Kiwanis building. “It’s a good location and it would open the park,” Harrigan said, adding that having the structure in place would also open up the power corridor for other businesses to go in.

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    AUCTION AREA — The new Three Rivers Kiwanis building includes an outdoor area with a roof overhead, which will be the site of functions such as the club’s annual auction.

    Thanking Desmarais, whose business Maine Alternative Solutions is located next to the new Kiwanis building, Harrigan said, “For a full year he has supported us in every way he could.” Desmarais allowed electricity to be used from one of his barns during the building process and offered the Kiwanis a discount on a heat pump.
    Harrigan said the building is 141 feet in length and is 40 feet wide. “It has this auction area and other event area,” he said about where the audience was sitting. “You have a window over here, that’s a service window with a kitchen behind it,” he said, adding the Kiwanis home includes a storage area, utility room, second kitchen and “a meeting and dining room.”
    He thanked Ellison, “who was here every day working on this building and he’s still working on this building.” Harrigan also thanked Ben Kittredge, another member of the Three Rivers Kiwanis Board of Directors, saying, “Anything you see painted in this building, Ben painted it.”
    A thank you was also given to Maynard who Harrigan said, “Supported us 100 percent in everything we did.” He said the building parcel was purchased for $1, as he said “the selectmen have been very good to us.”
    “Today is a great day for us and we are pleased very much to share it with you,” Harrigan said.
    “Tom and I have been very lucky in our lives,” Nancy Harrigan said. “We felt the need to give back to the community. We are very fortunate to have the funds that we have and we wanted to share them with the community of Milo and Brownville and this is what we have done.”

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom

    MASTER OF CEREMONIES — Eben DeWitt served as the MC during the grand opening of the new home of the Three Rivers Kiwanis.

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