Ashland Rotary Club boasts 58-year member

16 years ago

Rotarian Junkins honored
At 86 years young, Lester Junkins is Ashland Rotary Club’s longest standing member. How he became a part of the organization, some 58 years ago, was quite simple really.

One day, while Lester was out in the field plowing, he was approached by Philip Soucia, a potato broker, who asked him to join. Back then, you had to be classified in an area of work such as farming, wood products, education, etc., in order to be eligible for enrollment in the Rotary organization. Lester was familiar with Rotary, having attended functions at the Presque Isle club with his uncle. Liking what the group did and stood for, Lester decided to join, becoming an official member Jan. 19, 1950. The Rotary in Ashland was relatively new, as well, having been incorporated just two years prior under the sponsorship of the Washburn Rotary.
Some of the first members of the Ashland Rotary included Art Rafford, Rodney Weeks, Paul Ayre, Jack Higgins (Ashland’s first president in 1948), Pete Sawyer, Artemas Coffin, Guy Kirk, L.O. Clyde Craig, Clayton Turner, Philip Soucia and Holland Hews. These men, along with others who followed, tirelessly gave back to their community by raising funds through many events including the Logging Museum Round Up Days, horse shows at the Trotting Park, bean hole bean suppers, stove wood preparation and sales, truck and tractor pulls, golf tournaments, and, of course, many, many, Rotary Auctions. Lester enjoyed participating in any projects that had to do with the outdoors, particularly the wood preparation and sales.
Lester was president of the Ashland Rotary Club from 1963 to 1964, and currently serves as a member of the board of directors. He received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship Award in November 1987. This award, named after the founder of Rotary International, recognizes individuals for outstanding service to the Rotary organization and to their community. In July of 2008, the Ashland Rotary Club proudly celebrated its 60th anniversary, as well as Lester’s 58 years of membership during the town’s Summerfest parade. Lester and his fellow Rotarians took to the streets by foot and float, showing everyone that the Rotary is a vital and flourishing organization within our community.
Lester has led a very full life. He attended school at Oxbow East for eight years and recounts the dedication of the teachers, in those times, that had to teach all eight grades in a one-room schoolhouse. Back then, you had to travel to either Houlton or Presque Isle in order to attend high school. Lester remembers the road to Houlton being atrocious, so Presque Isle was his only option. Thankfully, he had two sets of relatives who boarded him during that time from 1936 to 1940. His only repayment was to do a few chores in return. Lester served his country during WWII in both Tokyo and the Philippines and was assigned to the A.T.I.S. (Allied Translator and Interpreter Service). After returning home, Lester farmed for a brief time, then did some guiding. This led to a contract with the Great Northern Paper Co. for lumber procurement. Lester also worked for his brother-in-law, Lendell McKee, for 15 years doing about anything required in the procuring of forest products for the various mills. Subsequently, this took him into the scaling departments of J. Paul Levesque’s two mills located in Ashland and Masardis. Since retiring from the woods business, Lester has not slowed down. For the past 23 years he has worked for the North Maine Woods at their Oxbow security gate.
Congratulations Lester for your 58-year milestone. We sincerely thank you for your dedication to the Rotary and for all the wonderful things you have done for our community through your lifetime of service.
Portage residents raise funds for victims of Alzheimer’s
The annual Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk was held Oct. 4 in Fort Kent. There were many participants, including Team Portage, which raised over $3,400 for the cause. All of the money raised at this event, and other Walks around the state, stays right here in Maine to help victims of Alzheimer’s Disease. Christy Dicker was the team’s highest fund-raiser, raising over $1,100 on her own! Team Portage received a “traveling plaque” for their efforts, and next year the plaque will go to the highest fund-raising team for that year. Team Portage members would like to thank everyone who donated to them and others for this worthy cause.
Tiger Cubs decorate for Halloween
If you are in downtown Ashland this week, be sure to check out the window display at the Orion Timberlands office building located at the corner of Main and Exchange streets. The seven Tiger Cub Scouts in Mike Montpetit and Julie Graham-Berry’s den made decorations including a haunted house, ghosts, gravestones, bats, pumpkins and even a scary tree to celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday. Cub Scouts in the group are Sean Montpetit, Colt Ginn, Hunter Ginn, Drew Doughty, Graham Berry, Lucien Hammond and Weston Robinson.
The Scouts and leaders thank Orion Timberlands for allowing them to decorate the window.
Centennial Committee to hold meeting
The Portage Lake Centennial Committee will meet at the Portage Lake Town Hall Thursday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend. Next year’s Centennial schedule of events and activities taking place during the celebration will be discussed.
Some events already planned for next year’s Centennial are Portage’s official birthday party, which will be celebrated Tuesday, March 24. There will be a potluck at the Town Hall, complete with birthday cake. Period dress (from early 1900s) is optional, but would be fun to see! Recipes from the Centennial Cookbook, which is currently available for sale at the Portage Town Office and Dean’s Hotel, are encouraged. The weekend before the 24th (March 20-22) will be the Snowman Festival. Construction of a giant snowman in the empty lot next to Coffin’s Store will begin in mid-February. Volunteers are needed to help work on this. The 21st is the big day for that weekend, with many children’s activities planned including a snowman contest at the new Portage Lake Centennial Pavilion, snowshoe races, and many vendors selling hot dogs and the like. At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, there will be a Variety Show. Anyone wishing to come and show their “talent” is welcome. On Sunday, March 22, there will be family sliding at the golf course and Bingo at the Town Hall for those older citizens who prefer to stay indoors!
The Portage Centennial Committee is also selling memorial picnic tables for $150 to be used at the Centennial Pavilion. They are being made by Eagle Scout Andrew Libby of Ashland. The money is to cover some of the cost of building the tables and burning names to be memorialized into the tops of them.
Kids Club news
Kids Club in Masardis will be Thursday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. The bus will leave the church at 5:30 p.m. and pick up those children who want to attend. Please be sure to call Cindy or the Rev. Donnie Morton at 435-6983 to make arrangements. For now, Kids Club will be held every other Thursday evening. Those attending will be notified of any future changes.
Advent Church to hold Christmas fair and luncheon
The Ashland Advent Church will hold its annual Christmas fair Saturday, Nov. 1. For more details as to time, etc., please contact the church at 435-6669.
Harvest supper at Portage church planned
St. Mark’s Parish will host a Harvest Supper Sunday, Nov. 9 from 5-7 p.m. The turkey supper will take place at Our Lady of the Lake in Portage and will cost $8 for adults and $4 for children. Raffle tickets are currently being sold and will also be available to purchase the night of the supper for chances to win 30 different prizes.
Snowmobile Club supper and meeting
The Ashland Snowmobile Club will hold its fall potluck supper and meeting Monday, Nov. 10. The event will take place at John Weeks’ camp on the Sterling Ridge Road. Current members and those wishing to join the club are asked to be there by 6:30 p.m.
Ongoing Events
The Ashland Area Senior Citizens group meets every Thursday at noon at the Ashland Recreational Center. Any senior citizens wishing to participate in the potluck lunches and meetings are always welcome.
The Portage Lake Seniors’ Lunch is held on the last Tuesday of every month at 11 a.m. at the Town Hall. All seniors are invited to attend and can bring a potluck dish to share or give a cash donation. For more information, contact Wilza Robertson at 435-6211 or Grace Nason at 435-6373.
The Red Hat Loonies of Portage Lake meet the second Thursday of every month at Dean’s Motor Lodge. Membership dues are $2. Come and have a great meal and a great time, too! For more information, contact Rachel Stevens at 435-6358.
If you can help plan for Portage Lake’s Centennial Celebration, please contact Barb Pitcairn at 435-2368 or Grace Nason at 435-6373.
Ladies, are you interested in crafts or have some that you’ve started and just can’t seem to finish? If so, take yourself over to the Portage Lake Municipal Building for Girlz Night every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy the company and the satisfaction of finally completing a project!
 (Julie Graham-Berry is the correspondent for Ashland, Portage Lake, Oxbow, Masardis, Garfield, Nashville Plantation and surrounding townships. She can be reached at 435-7137).