MOUNT DESERT — For the first time in at least 60 years, Dana Haynes is not serving on a town board or committee.
He resigned from the Harbor Committee, formerly the Marine Management Committee, in December.
“He was serving on town committees when I was in high school, and I’m 74,” said Town Manager Durlin Lunt. “That’s a pretty remarkable run of public service.”
That service included decades as a member of the all-volunteer fire company, which he joined in 1958 at the age of 18. He went on to serve as fire chief for 23 years.
While volunteering for the town in one capacity or another, he found time to operate Haynes Garage on Pine Street in Northeast Harbor. He still goes to the garage every day – after all, it is just next door to his house – but his son Dan now does most of the service work.
Dana said he doesn’t recall whether the Marine Management Committee was the first town committee he served on, but he has always been interested in the harbor.
“Years ago, I used to do an awful lot of work down there for the fishing boats, and that was probably a big reason I got on that committee.”
He served as its chairman for many years.
He said he doesn’t think he will miss being on the Harbor Committee, especially now that the meetings are being held remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had the interest and I enjoyed working with the other members. But I’ve got enough to keep me busy, and when you get be my age , it’s time to give up some things.”
Lunt said Dana has always been someone who other people wanted to run their ideas and opinions by.
“If he endorsed them, there was a pretty good chance the town would endorse them,” he said. “He has been one of those highly respected individuals, a backbone of the community that people appreciate and depend on. He has done so much and has gone about it in such a quiet, professional way that you perhaps never noticed how long he has been doing it.”
One municipal volunteer box that Dana Haynes has never checked is service on the Board of Selectmen.
“I believe the only reason he never ran for selectman was because he wasn’t able to serve on all of the other committees he was on,” said his daughter, Wendy Littlefield. “Growing up, I hardly remember a night that he didn’t have some meeting.”
Littlefield apparently inherited her father’s calling to public service; she is now on the Board of Selectmen.
“I can thank her for the trouble she gets me in,” Dana quipped.