Donations to honor late Caribou firefighter ensure bright holidays

1 year ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Friends and community members who knew Danny Raymond want to make sure his legacy is never forgotten.

Raymond, 57, died March 23 in a vehicle crash in Caribou. He had been a full-time firefighter and paramedic for 28 years. He served as a captain seven years prior to his death. 

Raymond was the type of guy who lit up a room with his warm smile and sense of humor, said former classmate Theresa Dube of Caribou.

“He always made people feel at ease. He was so kind and had a smile for everybody,” Dube said. 

Dube and Raymond were members of Caribou High School’s Class of 1985. Along with former classmates, Dube has helped spearhead efforts to upgrade the city’s Christmas lights in honor of Raymond.

Danny Raymond


In the days following Raymond’s death, Caribou Fire & Ambulance launched the Captain Danny Raymond Light Up the Community Fund. People can donate $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 toward the purchase of 50 new lights and electric pole hangers for Caribou’s holiday lights.

With each new light and pole hanger costing $1,000, those who can donate that amount will be honored with a sponsorship marker on their light pole. Anyone who donates $250 or more will see their name placed on a donor sign at the fire station.

The current lights in Caribou are many decades old. Through those years, Raymond repaired older lights and made sure they all lit up during the holidays.

“Danny was one of those guys who wanted to make things special for the kids,” said firefighter and paramedic Adam Chartier. “He wanted them to smile and be happy.”

Since launching Light Up the Community, 121 people have donated, putting the fire department close to its $50,000 goal. Firefighters will begin installing the lights this summer and hope to finish before the holidays.

Caribou High School’s Class of 1985 recently gave a check to Caribou Fire & Ambulance for $3,050 and a wooden flag honoring the late Danny Raymond. Pictured from left to right are Michael Divitto, Kenny O’Bar, Captain Brian Lajoie, Mark and Paula Barnes of Presque Isle, Theresa Dube of Caribou and Brian Doody of Caribou. (Courtesy of Theresa Dube)

Caribou High School’s Class of 1985 became one of three classes to donate recently.

In 10 days, Class of 1985 members and their families raised almost $2,000. Nearly two weeks later, the group brought in enough to total $3,050, surpassing their original goal of $1,000. Their contributions will purchase three new lights and hangers.

“It was always important to Danny that the community have Christmas lights,” Dube said. “Because of him, Caribou will be lit up for years to come.”

Mark Barnes of Presque Isle, a member of Caribou High School’s Class of 1985, recently donated a wooden flag he made in honor of late classmate Danny Raymond. (Courtesy of Theresa Dube)

Dube and former classmates Mark and Paula Barnes of Presque Isle and Brian Doody of Caribou presented the fire department with their check of $3,050 last week. Contributions from the three classes totals $5,050.

Mark Barnes gave the firefighters a wooden flag he painted with stars, stripes and the Caribou Fire & Ambulance logo. On that flag, he also engraved “In Memory of Captain Daniel “Danny” Raymond September 17, 1965 – March 23, 2023.”

Raymond’s classmates are not the only ones to donate in his honor.

On Monday, 12 members of the Holy Rosary Blanket Ministry in Caribou donated 10 blankets to the fire station. Firefighters will keep nine of those blankets in their trucks and ambulances to give to children during emergency situations.

The ministry also donated one large blanket, patterned with fire trucks, the Caribou Fire logo and firefighting scenes, that Raymond’s colleagues will give to his son, Tyler Raymond, who is an on-call firefighter with the department.

Ministry members started making the blankets soon after hearing news of Raymond’s death, said co-leader Judy Bougie. 

“We’ll never understand why things like this happen,” Bougie said. “I just keep hoping that God has a reason for everything and that something good will come out of this.”

Ministry member Kalen Hill knew Raymond well. Her favorite memory of him happened during last year’s Memorial Day parade in Caribou.

As Hill stood on the sidewalk taking pictures, Raymond drove by in his favorite fire truck, Old Engine One. To Hill’s surprise, she became part of the parade.

“He said, ‘Get up here. I have no one to ride with,’” Hill recalled with a smile. 

For Raymond’s colleagues and friends, the “overwhelming” amount of donations and kind words has shown how much he meant to the community.

“If only he could see the impact he had on people,” Chartier said.

Members of the Holy Rosary Blanket Ministry donated 10 blankets to Caribou Fire & Ambulance. Pictured in front (left to right) are Kalen Hill, Madeline Guerrette, Kay Nadeau and Joyce LaFrancois. In back (left to right) are Velma Castonguay, Lorraine Maguire, Elizabeth Long, John Thornton, Scott Michaud, Adam Chartier, Marie Thibeault and Jeanette Searles. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)