Celebrating local heroes
To the Editor:
Introduction: The plot
Usually when a "hero" comes along, we think of someone who has saved a life, served in the military or donated large amounts of money to a worthy charity. Tomorrow (Sept. 6) at 6 p.m. in the Rumford Falls Auditorium, the Rumford Board of Selectmen will have the privilege to honor two local heroes, one from Mexico and one from Rumford. Both of these men will be recognized officially as
Rumford Citizens of the Year. As with most heroes, they are none too eager to have the spotlight shining on themselves. Several of the folks who are close to these brothers have told me that both Billy and Jim would sooner wrestle a grizzly bear than appear at the special selectmen's meeting, to be honored as Citizen of the Year.
Act I: The stage
Many residents will long remember the visit from Hurricane Irene just one year ago. Much damage was done in Rumford -- power outages, trees uprooted and major flooding. Nowhere was the damage more evident than on the Swain Road, which was not only washed away in several places, but the Swain Brook Bridge, as well as the culverts, were completely washed away. In the days that followed, the power was restored, trees were cut and hauled away, the flood waters receded and some temporary road repairs were made. Unfortunately, there would be no quick fix for the bridge. The road had been closed to through traffic, making the life difficult for many homeowners and businesses. A round trip to town that used to take 10 minutes now took 50 minutes without the bridge.
Safety issues concerned neighbors when they realized that police, fire and Med-Care would also take longer to respond in case of an emergency.
Act II -- The heroes
Enter our heroes, Jim and Billy Nicols. They, with no fan fair, offered their temporary bridge to Rumford. They not only brought it to the site, but the crew stayed and installed it, with help from public works. They wore no uniforms, nor carried any guns, but simply saw a problem and came to the rescue of our town, with no prompting from any of us. It was President Kennedy who said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
Act III -- The celebration of our heroes
You, as residents, friends and neighbors, are invited to come and say thank you to the Nicols brothers, Jim and Billy, for coming to the rescue of the Rumford residents. They are truly my heroes.