If I kept a gratitude journal, which is what Oprah advises, it would be full. I cannot even begin to express the gratitude I feel for Milbridge, Maine. It isn’t about the breathtaking views (and I am beyond fortunate to have, perhaps, the best view from my office window in the state of Maine). It isn’t about the peace and tranquility here, which I treasure. It is about the people.

The BikeMaine group offered the Women’s Health Resource Library an opportunity to earn some much-needed funds during their recent visit. We are working hard to make the Milbridge Commons (the Bike Maine site) a reality, and big dreams don’t come without a price. Bike Maine offered the WHRL $500 to serve breakfast Saturday morning. And they offered us the phone charging station at the Milbridge Commons. For the charging station, we got $2 for every phone we charged. These cyclists wanted to be connected, which translated to cash for the WHRL. We had more volunteers offer to help than we needed after a single Facebook post requesting help. What a terrific group of go-getters!

Serving breakfast meant we had to have at least 8 volunteers show up at 5 AM on Saturday and stay until 9. We had over 20 people, including an energetic group from Camden National Bank, and many of my co-workers from the Milbridge Medical Center, arrive bright eyed and ready to roll up their sleeves. It was AMAZING! With this many volunteers, we were able to get the work done, visit with the cyclists, and enjoy the experience. Maine Farm and Food ran the show and they were a well-organized, well-oiled machine. Didn’t it feel good to be serving people food that actually came from Maine? Yes, we had Wyman’s blueberries to go with the yogurt. The cyclists raved about the food, the town of Milbridge and their Vasquez Mexican dinner Friday night. The leftover food (more than a little) went to Downeast Table of Plenty at the Seacoast Mission. And Bonnie Johnson, the DETOP director, and a WHRL board member was there volunteering. So, all the extra food was packed up and went to the next day’s DETOP meal. What perfect serendipity.

At my age, the memory is less than perfect. I would LOVE to mention every single volunteer by name, but I am certain I would miss someone. So, a special and very heartfelt “Thank you” to all our dedicated and hardworking community-minded volunteers. This is what makes Downeast Maine special. This is the meaning of community.

And this is what gratitude, genuine heartfelt gratitude, feels like.