Years as a member: New member
Monhegan Island, ME
What Maine island or coastal community is of particular significance to you? Why?
Before moving here, Monhegan Island was always my unofficial home and my extended family. My first summer was in 1990, and I have spent almost every summer here since. I moved here year-round in June 2015. I am currently the plantation’s Third Assessor and Assistant Fire Chief, and I also work for the Power Company, pour beer at the brewery, and own/operate a woodworking business. My partner, Carley Mayhew (Monhegan’s Postmaster) and I have been roasting coffee, and over the next year we hope to turn it into another year-round business.
I’ve received a lot of help, advice, and life lessons out here over the years, so I couldn’t be happier to give back to this community as much as I can. Having my shop here and hopefully soon providing year-round employment for another person or two is a mutually beneficial way to sustain other year-round businesses.
Do you have a favorite story or memory of Maine?
I visited Monhegan for the first time in winter about 10 years ago. I made frames and painted with the artist Ted Tihansky for a couple of weeks. During that time, there was a blizzard on the island, and we ate fresh shrimp from a five gallon bucket. We also had a Valentine’s dinner for 12 people, hiked out to Burnt Head and painted the moon rising on found pieces of tile, made bracelets out of discarded copper pipe, and torched sculptures and frames chasing an aesthetic unique to Ted. It was a great introduction to the community I had known from only one perspective. Without that experience, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Why did you decide to become a member of the Island Institute? What does it mean to you?
I became a member of the Island Institute to give back in the smallest way to an institution that I believe has helped Monhegan out. It’s nice to know that we have a friend inshore who wants to help us sustain and succeed as a community. Being a member is all about having the opportunity to network with others and collaborate on the ways in which we can improve, support and strengthen life on our islands.
Which of our programs do you see as having a big impact on the coast?
Living on an island, it’s easy to think that every problem is unique to our own situation. It turns out that isn’t entirely true. A great example of this is the Island Energy Conference, which brought together people from different islands all over the world to brainstorm and share solutions as it pertains to energy. Being a part of that larger community is a great tool to bring home, especially when we barely have enough people, or time, to fill the jobs available on Monhegan. The most important role I see the institute playing is in aiding tiny communities like Monhegan that have a lack of resources — specifically the human resource, help us connect the dots, and help us get things done.
For more information on becoming a member of the Island Institute, please visit our Membership page, or contact Hannah Barrows with questions.