Saturday, December 8, 2007

Supper to aid ill fireman

I am soooo far behind in writing in my blog. And there is sooooo much to tell. But I wanted to post this newspaper article before the electronic version of it wasn't available anymore. Maggy teaches math education at UMF. She's in my department and is a phenomenal professor who contributes a lot to the community and the state. Her husband is Harry Wyckoff who is the subject of this newspaper article. I went to the Benefit Supper tonight. It's such a Maine thing to do and it's such an awesome thing to do. There were probably 40-50 cars when I got there at 6:30. It was packed inside the Town Office building. People of all ages and a LOT of volunteer firemen were in attendance. I found a table with university folks that I knew and joined them. We had a great time, though there was a somber feeling in the air as well. Harry wasn't there, but I did get to see Maggy. What a strong woman. I think she hugged every person who came.

I had a printout from Google maps with directions but it turns out, I went the wrong way on the very first road. But I still ended up in the right place! If I ever go back to Chesterville, I bet some of the signs that told me which way to go won't even be there. God takes very good of this "flatlander" (another name for 'a person from away' but specifically someone from the other 47 continental states) and He pulled another fast one tonight. On the way home, I figured out what I did wrong, but I still have no idea how I got there in the first place. But Lindsay . . . there were no U-turns!


Supper to aid ill fireman

By Ann Bryant , Staff Writer
Monday, December 3, 2007

FARMINGTON - Harry Wyckoff has spent more than a quarter century as an active volunteer on the Chesterville Fire Department.

"He's watched others face trials and tribulations and how they handled those," his wife, Maggie, said Friday, "and has realized that it's not what happens to you but how you approach what is happening."

"A positive attitude is a gift," she said, speaking of her 65-year-old husband, who is undergoing cancer treatment and faces surgery in January.

The Chesterville Fire Department will support the fellow firefighter with a benefit spaghetti supper from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Chesterville Town Office on Dutch Gap Road, said Ed Hastings, a friend and member of the department.

With a magic that draws kids in, Wyckoff said of her husband, he enjoys children and has visited schools teaching youngsters through the Learn Not to Burn program.

The couple wrote and received a grant for funds to purchase a 14-foot fire prevention trailer that is used as part of the presentation, Hastings said.

The trailer, painted to look like a child's bedroom, uses stage smoke to simulate a fire. Wyckoff starts in the classroom, she said, teaching the children to get down and to touch the doors with the back of their hands to check for heat.

Then he takes them out to the trailer where he asks if they have a light on while they sleep. He then adjusts the lighting and starts the smoke, she said. The children can hear the smoke coming before the two smoke alarms. They then drop and crawl out to where there is a fake phone to dial 911. The phone is connected to an acting-dispatcher who asks the same questions they could expect from a real dispatcher: town, name, address and problem.

"It gives the children that edgy feeling of a first-hand experience," she said.

The trailer was used during fire prevention week in October, said Chief David Archer as he named several local schools that were visited this year.

"The trailer's available to other departments to use also," he said. "It's a great educational tool, and if it saves one child, then it's done its job."

Wyckoff has written several grants over the years, Hastings said, the most recent one received, a FEMA grant in 2004, brought several thousand dollars to the department to help purchase fire equipment such as air packs.

It's equipment that brought the department up to OSHA standards, Wyckoff added.

A retired self-employed carpenter, Wyckoff is often around to respond to fire calls, Hastings said. He is important to the fire department, especially so when the town's two fire departments merged in the late 1980s.

A little rivalry between the North Chesterville and Chesterville departments was buried when they built the new firehouse together, Wyckoff said.

"They're a wonderful group of people," she said, "and the department has brought in many young people as junior firefighters. Watching them learn and grow has been very edifying for him. He's a real mentor."

Wyckoff has also served as the department's treasurer for years, said Archer, who called him a good friend and his experience a valuable aid.

The Wyckoffs have two sons, one in Baltimore and one in Cape Cod, she said. She is employed at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Donations will be accepted at the supper, Hastings said, to help with expenses expected when the Wyckoffs travel to Boston in January for the surgery.

Wyckoff was undergoing treatment Friday and was unavailable for comment.

Retrieved Dec. 8, 2007 from
As seen in Sun Journal newspaper, Lewiston, Maine

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

I'm glad to hear your directions and god blessings have led you to have less U-turns!