Letter to Editor: On anniversary of fire, thanks

To the Editor:

One year ago on April 22, our lives changed, not just the lives of our family but of an entire community. In less than one hour a devastating fire took the family’s homestead, two lives and nearly two more. Little did we know, but six months later cancer would rob us of one of those survivors.

In the immediate aftermath John Goodwin’s company provided heavy equipment to take on the grim task of recovery and assisting emergency personnel extinguish the fire.

Family and friends called asking if there was anything they could do; expressing their shock and condolences. Food, flowers and cards began appearing along with warm hugs and tears. Messages received via social media asking where to send monetary donations flooded e-mail accounts.

The two-word phrase, “thank you,” may be small, but it holds the weight of the world and our family’s immense gratitude and appreciation for the continued support from family, friends and community.

We want to thank the following for their acts of kindness, support and all they have done for us the past year: Family, friends and neighbors; emergency services personnel; John Goodwin, Jr. Construction; Cody J. Norwood Construction; L. E. Norwood and Sons, Inc.; Serendipity; Little Anthony’s; Harold Lynk, Jr. Plumbing and Heating; Somesville Union Meeting House United Church of Christ family, especially Victor Stanley for his ongoing support; the many and anonymous contributors to the Harding Family Fund; also thanks goes to contractors and former daycare parents of Erlene’s who have said, “If there is anything you need, let us know.”

Thank you, too, to the Mount Desert Island Hospital and Health Centers, especially the kitchen staff, who worked with Leroy. Leroy loved his hospital family and we know you miss him immensely. We look forward to watching the tree grow that was planted at Cooper Gilmore Health Center in Leroy’s memory.

We would be remiss in not thanking the staff at Maine Medical Center Burn Unit in Portland for their compassionate care of Percy. The staff went above and beyond tending to and sitting with Percy helping him attempt to cope with the deaths of his wife and son.

We thank again, the MDI Hospital staff and Beacon Hospice for their love and kindness during Percy’s end days.  He was allowed to pass from this life to the next with peace and dignity.

We wish to extend a very special thank you to Roberta Kearney for her constant and loving presence.

We hope no one has been missed in this letter, but if they have, please know it is not deliberate.

A new house is on the lot. Percy was an integral part of visiting Al Benner Homes and choosing the house. Sadly, he did not see it placed on the foundation, but we do know he would approve of what is standing where the farmhouse stood. Once complete, we plan on holding an Open House later this year.

Time marches forward and change is inevitable. Although we miss Erlene, Leroy and Percy far more than words may express, we do know they would want each of us to live for them every day like they were here.

We hope as days and months pass; we will remember more how they lived rather than how they died. In their memories, we ask you do something kind for another, plant a garden, tell a funny story, or maybe even sing Leroy’s favorite song: Bad Bad Leroy Brown during Karaoke night.

Percy Harding, Jr.,

Dale Harding,

Raymond Harding

and their families

Bar Harbor

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