December 26, 2014

Season of Gratitude honors Windham PD and RSU14 administration - By Michelle Libby

After the threats made against the RSU14 community last week, seven friends from the Windham Mom’s Facebook group decided that they needed to do something to say thank you to the law enforcement and administration at RSU14 for their quick actions that potentially saved lives. 
“We first thought about doing lunch, donuts and coffe, but we’re just a small group of moms in Windham. How wasteful it would be if we all showed up with the same thing,” said coordinator Shelly Afthim. “We wanted something more meaningful.” 

That’s when Season of Gratitude was born. Afthim set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for three programs in the community with the help of moms Kate Anderson, Amy Bilodeau, Amy Cunniffe, Jami Glicos, Kim Hartwell and Laura Heckman. The programs are Windham Social Services, the backpack lunch program and Feeding Friends, a program at Windham High School. The goal is to fund all three programs through April vacation. 

“Something tragic was going to happen and how do you say thank you for stopping that?” Afthim asked.
The GoFundMe page will be open until January 31 for donations at the www.GoFundMe/RSU14.
“I have so much respect for Sandy Price. He handled this perfectly,” she said. 

Afthim is hoping that this good will toward the Windham Police Department will last indefinitely. “People need to show respect and gratitude for those who protect and served us,” she said. She hopes that this shows that good can come from a sad chapter in our community.  There are so many positive things about living in Windham, she added. “We didn’t want this thing to define our town because our town is so much more than that.”

When Glen Halliday heard about Afthim’s efforts, he decided that he could help send a message to the community and a thank you to Windham Police Department. 

He decided to do this, “Because I was so impressed by how the PD and RSU14 handled themselves, and our kids during this entire week. I thought that my gratitude could extend beyond a simple Facebook "shout out".”

With Halliday’s company 207 Brand, he has done fundraisers before, but this time it was personal. “All the profits will be donated to the Windham PD, or town if that’s what they choose,” said Halliday. He hopes to hit a minimum of $1,000 in donations and profits, but realizes that with a short time frame and the time of year, that it could be a stretch. “Then again, maybe our local Windhamites might feel like giving and we exceed it,” he added. 

Halliday started 207 Brand back in 2012. He felt like exploring the edgy side of his design capabilities. At his other company, Kids Crooked House, he said he mainly draws unicorns and rainbows all day.
“I also think that there is a massive music and art community in Maine that people don’t get to see. I want people locally and "from away" to realize that Maine is much more than moose and lobster. And I hope thru my design abilities and products we can achieve that,” Halliday said. 

Halliday’s three children attend Windham Schools, two boys in ninth grade and his daughter is in fifth.
“My kids never think I'm cool, but all their friends do. When all this went down the boys were just happy to get early release...but Madison was really upset and it tore me up. No kids should be scared to go to school. No kids should be put through that kinda fear,” he said. 

The shirts are on sale online at through December 24, then will be available and mailed on December 30. Some people choose to pick the shirts up a Buck’s Naked BBQ in Windham on December 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Afthim and Halliday hope that the town comes together to say thank you to those who helped keep our children of all ages safe. 

“There is nothing negative about what we’re trying to do. We’re not making it about the event,” said Afthim.

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