Tag Archives: Maine Troop Greeters

Vowing to be a better blogger … I promise

I seriously thought when I started “Letters From Away” that I would be able to update the content every day – something new every single day. I mean, how difficult could that be?

Pretty difficult lately, it seems.

It truly was my intention to update this blog daily with Maine news aggregation, commentary on Maine happenings – at least through the filter of newspaper websites, blogs and hearsay – and stories from my childhood growing up in Maine’s North Woods. There is plenty to write about.

Maine was in the middle of the same-sex marriage debate last year, its two U.S. senators are experiencing growing influence in Washington, the Maine Troop Greeters were the subject of a great documentary film, there were pretty exciting political races, and Maine continues to be a leader when it comes to alternative energy, especially land-based and offshore wind power generation and wave power generation. The scenic beauty – and the effort to keep it that way – also has given me fodder for this blog.

And that does not even touch on lobsters, lighthouses, moose, bears, mosquitoes, Moxie, weather, whoopie pies and Stephen King.

So, yeah, there has been plenty on which to write. Too much, in fact.

Two things have stood in the way lately – the continuing job search and the holidays.

Returning readers will remember that I have been a journalist for more than 22 years and that I was laid off in March 2009. I have been looking – so far unsuccessfully – for work ever since. I continue to search in the newspaper field, but from the start I also branched out to hunt for a job with nonprofits, green industries, government, and elsewhere.

Still nothing. Yet.

But I keep looking. And sending out cover letters and resumes and references and filling out applications. Even for jobs for which I am not exactly qualified and for jobs for which I am overly qualified.

Scanning dozens of job websites and bulletin boards takes time. Crafting cover letters and massaging resumes takes time. And with the way the congressional debate was going on the extension of unemployment benefits tied to the Bush-era tax credit, it seemed time really, really was running out. I felt the pressure to churn out more and more cover letters and resumes.

And that did not leave much time for blogging.

I still am not completely sure I qualify for the extension, so I have a despicable option in mind – cash out every piece of “retirement” funding I have left. Even at a 30 percent to 40 percent cut for taxes and fees, it might give me another couple of months for finding work. And there will be no retirement at all if I cannot find a job soon.

Holidays always jam up things a bit. I did not get presents for my family last years. There just was no money to spare.

There was even less money to spare this year, but I did not want to go without getting presents for my family for a second year in a row. That would be just too demoralizing for me. So I did what I normally do not do – I pulled out a credit card for my holiday purchases.

So there was time spent shopping for Christmas gifts. And there was time spent standing in lines that were longer than normal. And there was more time stuck in holiday traffic. And time spent wrapping gifts. And time spent standing in line at the post office to ship Christmas packages to Maine.

And around major holidays, job websites do not post jobs nearly as frequently as they do normally, which hampers the jobs search. It is a tale with twists and turns.

But the holidays soon will be a memory. And the job search should settle down to the same brain-numbing grind that it has been for nearly 22 months.

And hopefully I will be more diligent in updating this blog on a daily basis. Let’s make that my No. 1 resolution for 2011 – be a better blogger.

OK, make that 2011 resolution No. 2, because getting a meaningful, suitable job is the No. 1 resolution.

So, until the next time I see you in the blogosphere, see ya.

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U.S. senators stranded by weather join Maine Troop Greeters | Bangor Daily News

[I spotted this story yesterday, but here’s a longer version. The Maine Troop Greeters are great. POV did a documentary on them a few months ago. – KM]

BANGOR, Maine — Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Waylaid in Bangor by bad weather farther to the north and east, a political Who’s Who of high-profile travelers greeted troops at Bangor International Airport on Friday night and livened up the local downtown scene before flying out early Saturday.

En route to an international security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mark Udall of Colorado found themselves stranded at Bangor International Airport late Friday afternoon because of high winds and overcast conditions in Halifax.

The six senators were the first to straggle in to BIA, landing in a private military plane shortly after 3 p.m. after their pilot attempted twice to land in Halifax.

They didn’t know how long they would be grounded in Bangor. So they did what anyone would do. They contacted a friend.

“I looked at my e-mail and there was a message from Barbara [Mikulski],” said Sen. Susan Collins on Saturday. “She said, ‘You’ll never guess where I am.’” The group, accompanied by an entourage of aides and security staff, was in the coffee shop at BIA, waiting for the weather to clear.

Collins was at her home in Bangor, anticipating a phone call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I was in kind of a quandary,” Collins said. “I didn’t want to miss her call, but I had six friends stranded at the airport.”

Click for the rest of the story by Meg Haskell in the Bangor Daily News.

Troop greeter veteran headed to Iraq | Bangor Daily News

Troop greeter veteran headed to Iraq | Bangor Daily News

Maine soldiers make Bangor stop before deployment | Bangor Daily News

Maine soldiers make Bangor stop before deployment – Bangor Daily News.

Daisy Scouts offer troops cookies at Maine’s BIA | Bangor Daily News

Daisy Scouts offer troops cookies at BIA – Bangor Daily News.

Airport honors Maine Troop Greeters’ service | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — There is little to be said about the Maine Troop Greeters that hasn’t already been said, written about or immortalized in film.

The exploits of the volunteer group, which last week greeted its millionth troop at Bangor International Airport, have been well-established for years, but the group’s chairman said he remains awed by its continued evolution.

“It gets stronger every year. We’re recruiting new members. We’re getting donations all the time,” said Tom Kohl, a troop greeter since 2005 and a veteran of the Vietnam War. “The one constant is the consistent flow of troops coming through.”

Dozens of troop greeters filled seats on the second floor of BIA’s domestic terminal on Wednesday, but for a change they were not awaiting a flight full of soldiers. This day was for them.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Eric Russell in the Bangor Daily News.

1 millionth soldier arrives at Bangor airport | Bangor Daily News

Maine Greeters regard

milestone with mixed feelings

BANGOR, Maine — Waving flags, cheering and shaking hands, the Maine Troop Greeters at Bangor International Airport hailed the 1 millionth service member to disembark at the airport shortly before 1 a.m., Monday.

The flight carrying the 1 millionth soldier to come through the Queen City was one of several originating from Fort Carson, Colo., carrying soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

The soldiers at the airport Sunday morning were part of that group of “Iron Strong” warriors who are destined for the wars in the Middle East.

The Maine Troop Greeters come to the airport from all over eastern Maine, day or night, to provide warm welcomes or supportive sendoffs to those who serve the United States in all branches of the military.

Many troop greeters at the airport Sunday morning said reaching the 1 million soldier milestone was something they hoped would never happen, but they will remain at their posts supporting the country’s soldiers for as long as necessary.

“We’re the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and neighbors of these troops who can’t be here,” Tom Kohl, a Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Maine Troop Greeters, said while standing in the airport Sunday morning surrounded by soldiers. “We feel honored.”

The troop greeters began counting the servicemen and women who fly through BIA in 2003.

 Click on the link for the rest of this story by Nok-Noi Ricker in the Bangor Daily News.