The Star-Herald

Lack of plumbers an indication of how important trades are

To the editor:

The temperatures casually dipped into the 20’s and yesterday marked the year’s first flurries of snow. I’m told Oct. 18 is early even by County standards. Back at home we had a leak in the basement and an inch of water pooled. For the first time, I began calling around and asking recommendations for a plumber.

The search began simply enough, by reading reviews on Google. Back in California this would usually mark the beginning and end of finding a technician of any sort, but my first conversation was a bit alarming, “We’re backed up through the end of the year,” I was told. I called every other plumber listed online and was shocked to get the same response from all of them. I started taking names of recommendations of plumbers not listed online, but they were all booked up too.

Being a member of the Northern Maine Community College community, I reached out to Loren Gordon, our plumbing and heating instructor. He told me that my experience wasn’t just a fluke, that there was a serious need for more plumbers in the area.

“What do I do?” I asked.

“You basically call, and you cry,” he said with a half-smile.

The next day, I took Loren’s advice, called every plumber back and basically begged. Still no luck — they were simply too busy to take on a new client.

On the third day of my search for a plumber, I started calling them all back for the third time. By this time they knew me; they knew my story, my predicament. I called one man and during his voice message, he listed the name and number of another plumber named Troy — I hadn’t heard that name yet — I called Troy and he answered. He asked if I’d be available tomorrow, Saturday. At this point, of course, I told him.

I regale this story because it’s a reminder of how important the trades are in communities like ours where many of the workers are retiring, or have retired recently. And with winter breathing its cool breath down our necks, perhaps it’s just one more reminder to be prepared.

Griffin Goins

Presque Isle

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