Kennebec Tales

January 3

Linemen, the Red Barn and a Christmas tale of compassion foretell a caring 2014

An old adage that the quality of year can be determined by the first person who steps over your threshold is something to keep in mind in tough times.

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Morin is pastor of St. Michael Parish in Augusta and Hedrick, who lived in Augusta for many years, knows Morin well.

“He assured me that the Bread of Life Shelter offers many services to its clients. However, I am still deeply concerned about this very young mother and her two precious little boys,” Hedrick said in an email shortly before Christmas.

Hedrick bought some warm winter gear for Julia and her family, intending to get them to them for Christmas.

But when she went back to the shelter on Christmas Eve, it was closed.

She was concerned about the family and wasn’t sure what to do, when the day after Christmas she saw them featured on the front page of the Kennebec Journal. They were at the emergency shelter at the Augusta Civic Center because the shelter had closed when it lost power during the ice storm a couple days before.

She worried about the young family’s future.

“I don’t know how they will survive in this society, and Augusta has so little to offer. It is heartbreaking,” she said.

She has not had a chance to get back to the family because of a death in her own family, but she fully intends to deliver the hats, scarves and mittens she bought before Christmas.

“I am so thankful I made the decision not to stop for the gift certificates. Julia was a mindful Christmas gift to me,” she said. “I felt as if, somehow, I was in Bethlehem.”

Compassion and the ability to look past her own threshold into someone elses drives the Hedricks. She shared her story not to congratulate herself, but out of concern for Julia’s family and others in similar situations.

Charlie Hedrick volunteers at a food pantry and the less fortunate are always on the couples’ minds.

In the midst of an update of her story about Julia this week, for instance, Suzanne added, “I can just imagine the impact on so many families with the loss of unemployment insurance.”

The Hedricks will continue to make a difference in the lives of people they don’t know and who no one is making them care about.

It’s a bet people like the Hedricks don’t waste a lot of time waiting for someone to step over their threshold. They spend their time looking for doorways.

So maybe the question isn’t who stepped over your threshold in this shiny new year, but whose threshold you’ll step over.

Maureen Milliken is news editor of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Email her at Kennebec Tales is published the first and third Thursday of the month.This is a corrected version of this column.

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