PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

MDI makes wish come true for ailing visitor



PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Linda Lunt holds a lobster while Robert Boren bands its claws during his Make-A-Wish excursion last Friday.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — He was escorted into the harbor by the U.S. Coast Guard and left town in the front seat of a fire engine.

It wasn’t the president or the pope who received such special treatment last Friday. It was Robert Boren, an 11-year-old boy from Oklahoma.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation had arranged with Sail Acadia in Southwest Harbor for Robert and his family to go on a lobster boat cruise.

Make-A-Wish uses donations to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Robert has cardiac epilepsy, a rare and potentially fatal disorder. Part of his wish was to go fly fishing.

“But he didn’t want to go to Alaska or Canada; he wanted to come to Maine so he could also lobster and do it all,” said his mother, Shelly Boren.

Robert is a big fan of the reality TV series “Deadliest Catch.”

“I always wanted to see the ocean, but had never gotten to,” he said.

Last week, Robert, along with his parents, older brother and cousin, spent four days at Libby Camps on Millinocket Lake, where Robert caught brook trout, rode in a floatplane and saw several moose.

Then it was on to Southwest Harbor.

Sail Acadia had enlisted avuncular longtime lobsterman Dan Lunt to captain the Elizabeth T, which takes visitors on cruises for sightseeing, island picnics and lobster fishing excursions. Capt. Lunt’s wife, Linda, served as crew and hostess for the cruise.

After Robert helped Capt. Lunt haul traps from the sea, Lunt showed him how to measure the captured crustaceans and band the ones that were large enough to keep.

The Elizabeth T then cruised out to East Bunker’s Ledge, where the Boren family and others on board got a close look at seals lounging on the rocks. On the way back, as the boat approached Southwest Harbor, a Coast Guard cutter appeared and escorted it all the way to the dock.

Later that afternoon, Beal’s Lobster Pier treated Robert and his family to a traditional Down East lobster dinner.

“Everybody has gone above and beyond to make Robert feel special here,” his mother said. “We really have appreciated all the hospitality. Captain Dan and Linda were awesome.”

When it was time to leave, Southwest Harbor Deputy Fire Chief Jack Martel and firefighter Matt Lindsley drove the town’s ladder truck to Beal’s and picked up Robert, who got to sit in the right front seat as they headed north. In Somesville, they were joined by fire trucks from Mount Desert and Bar Harbor, which escorted them to Thompson Island. Robert’s family was waiting for him there.

“It has been way past expectations,” Robert’s father, Calvin, said of his son’s Make-A-Wish week in Maine. “He’s got a lifetime of memories.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]