Local author Hafford plans community visit

FORT KENT, Maine — Writer Faye O’Leary Hafford will visit with the public on Saturday, April 6, at 3:30 p.m. in Fort Kent.

The session, hosted by Bogan Books, will honor Hafford’s work as a writer and is free and open to the public. She will discuss her books and enjoy the spirit of community.

Hafford’s love of books has spanned her lifetime. She has written and compiled over 20 books, focused on family histories of the upper St. John Valley with special attention to Allagash.

In her book “Orphan Dreams,” an autobiography, the author sums up her life accomplishments with an ounce of inspiration.

“I decided I could stay home and cry and grieve forever or I could get out and do something worthwhile,” she wrote on the death of her husband, “and that is what I have been trying to do.”

“Her work has been important to people. She has provided insight to others of the unique cultures of our area — especially of Allagash. Best of all, she has helped locals not forget the stories that tie them together,” said Heidi Carter, owner of Bogan Books.

Hafford’s accomplishments and awards include a wooden football award from the Kraft Company and New England Patriots for her contributions to community; she was not only chosen as Fort Kent’s Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW) Woman of the Year, but the following year, she was also chosen as the State of Maine’s Woman of the Year. She was the recipient of the first Ken York Award for outstanding service to the Allagash Waterway and was also chosen as a WAGM TV Aroostook County All-Star for her community involvement.

She also established a mobile book program, where she took books to elderly and shut-ins and exchanged them when needed.

In 1998, her contributions to literacy were highlighted by her desire to reopen the library at the Allagash school, which was closed at the time. The facility was named in her honor as the Faye O’Leary Hafford Library.

Later this month, Hafford will be honored by Maine Public. The media company held an essay contest on hometown heroes and author Cathie Pelletier of Allagash submitted the essay on Faye and her work at the Faye O’Leary Hafford Library. Recently Pelletier was notified that they won. Maine Public will present Hafford with a piece of jewelry made by a Maine artist on her 94th birthday.

“I love books,” Hafford told Carter recently. “There’s nothing I like more than seeing mothers with babies, as young as they can be, with books in their hands.”

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