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Veterans, friends celebrate New Year over chicken stew at Legion in Fort Kent

FORT KENT, Maine — Area veterans prepared for the new year by sharing an old favorite, chicken stew and ployes, when they gathered with members of the community at the Martin-Klein American Legion Post 133 on New Year’s Eve.

Among those who attended the supper was Army National Guard veteran Joel Plourde, who served for eleven years beginning in 1953. This New Year’s Eve also happened to be his 86th birthday.

Plourde enjoyed the chicken stew meal at the legion along with his son-in-law, Kevin Plourde.

It was a bittersweet New Year’s Eve, however, for the elder Plourde who said that his most memorable New Year’s celebrations were those spent with his wife of 60 years, Claudette Plourde, who died in September 2018.

“I was happy when my wife was with me,” he said. “She was really smart, very intelligent; she was good at anything she did. She did everything that could be done.”

Joel Plourde said his wife was gifted in many areas, including at scrapbooking, glass cutting, playing piano and singing.

“She was the best,” he said.

Kevin Plourde, 49, is an Air Force veteran who served for nine years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He said that one New Year’s Eve which stands out for him is when he was deployed overseas during Desert Storm in 1991.

“It was not too bad,” he said. “ I guess being away from home is the worst part but they treated us well down there.”

Priscilla Staples, an Army Nursing Corp. veteran, also served during Desert Storm. She is the historian of Post 133. The 70 year old said she has hopes for a positive 2019.

“I would like to see world peace; that would be nice and to be able to get along,” she said. “(In the military), we’re taught that we’re supposed to be eclectic and all-inclusive, so we develop a camaraderie with Democrats or independents or Republicans or whoever you are, because we work for the betterment of the country. We lost a lot of that and we need to get that back.”

The Legion sponsored the event with the assistance of members of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary who prepared the meal.

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