Crosswinds residents tour the Valley on school bus outing
FORT KENT, Maine — Crosswinds residents enjoyed a tour of the greater Fort Kent area on Tuesday, July 28, while riding on the Valley Unified school bus.
The residents had not left the residential care center as a group since March in order to protect them from COVID-19 exposure.
Crosswinds CRMA Louise Martin suggested the residents might benefit from taking a ride around town together to see some local sites. But transporting dozens of residents at one time would require some community support.
Crosswinds staff contacted SAD 27 transportation director Peter Saucier, who recommended the Valley Unified bus, which includes an air ride suspension, 46 leather-bucket seats and air conditioning, for the residents’ outing.
Saucier received approval from Valley Unified administrators to provide the Crosswinds residents with a ride on the bus, and Saucier did the driving.
Crosswinds maintenance worker Pat Nadeau also drove the smaller Crosswinds van to accommodate two residents in wheelchairs as well as Crosswinds nurse Heather Pelletier.
“We used to do all kinds of outings in the summer and we had such good volunteers,” said Crosswinds assistant activities coordinator Patti Perreault Voisine. “It’s impossible to bring a large [number] of residents without our wonderful volunteers, but with the bus we could do it.”
About 30 residents, all wearing face masks for safety, opted to take the tour to Plaisted, Soldier Pond and throughout Fort Kent, including a drive by the cattle corral at Bouchard Family Farms.
“I mentioned the cattle when we came up to that road because we had been there in previous years,” Perreault Voisine said. “We heard they had over 25 calves and we got to see them.”
Perreault Voisine said the residents appreciated the outing and were thankful for the efforts of Saucier, Nadeau and all the other volunteers who made it happen.
“Everyone loved it and are still talking about it,” Perreault Voisine said. “They are hoping we can do it again.”
“This given opportunity was a true gift of love,” she added. “We are lucky aren’t we?”