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Visiting mushers honor young volunteer

FORT KENT, Maine — Logan Bouley, 13, is one of the many volunteers who make events like the Can Am Crown sled dog races possible. His enthusiasm and dedication, especially for someone not yet in high school, caught the attention of mushers and organizers this year.

Can Am Crown Board Vice President Sarah Brooks presented Bouley a pair of authentic coyote fur mushing mittens at this year’s Can Am banquet, March 7, in Fort Kent, where the race has taken place for more than 20 years. Brooks is also in charge of the Portage checkpoint, where Bouley has volunteered the past three races.

“It was really shocking. I was not expecting it,” Bouley said, Thursday, March 23, about the gift.

The desire to be part of the exciting mushing event outpaced Bouley’s ability to take part, however, as he first expressed interest when he was just 7 years old. Organizers felt he was too young at that time. Bouley said he wants to become a musher himself someday.

“He was disappointed every year with that response,” his mother, Becky Bouley, said.

Eventually, event organizers found a spot for Bouley to help at Portage in 2015. His mother said organizers were very impressed with her son that first year.

“They were not expecting that much work out of a young boy,” she said.

At Portage, Bouley is in charge of getting each musher’s resupply gear bag and dog hay ready and delivered when they arrive. He also gets drinks for the mushers. When they leave, Bouley has to make sure each area is picked up. He has his own radio and must coordinate his work with the mushing teams and other volunteers.

The young Bouley has several people working for him at Portage, including his mother.

“It’s the only day of the year I get to boss my mom around,” he said with a smile.

Bouley is also active in his local Boy Scout troop, volunteers at his church and often attends fire department training at North Lakes Fire Department where his father, David Bouley, is assistant chief. Bouley also helps at the family’s business in Fort Kent, D.E.L. Redemption. The Bouleys live in New Canada.

Bouley said he enjoys having a job to do and a list of tasks. “You get to learn new things.” he said. “At Portage you feel loved and needed,” he said.

Bouley’s mother said mushers spoke to her at the banquet about how hard Logan worked and the good job he did. “They saw he took his job very seriously,” his mother said.

Many expressed surprise, she said, when they learned such a young person was in charge and getting things done.

Bouley said her son’s enthusiasm and persistence have created a family event, where Bouley, his parents and his brother Evan all go to the checkpoint to volunteer.

Organizers told Bouley, likely only partially joking, that they expect him to take over the checkpoint someday.

Bouley, with a confidence not often seen in a young teenager, said while he would like to see what goes on at other checkpoints, he’s just fine being in charge of Portage for a while.

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