Scoops for Troops Story of how it started…
Michael Ahern, age 8, watched with great curiosity as the old Elizabeth Arden Retreat transformed into The Travis Mills Foundation. He asked a lot of curious questions every time we drove by during the renovation and has been captivated by the work done for the recalibrated veteran families since the beginning.
On July 4, 2017, we attended the Belgrade 4th of July parade, which is a family tradition. On our way to the parade, we told Kara and Michael that there may be some soldiers from the Travis Mills Foundation at the parade since they had started to host soldiers and their families. We parked at the post office and sat waiting for the parade to begin. As luck would have it, a soldier was across the street from us, along with a staff member from the foundation. Kara and Michael asked to cross the street to say, “Thank you.”
This was the start of Michael’s dream.
We met Adam and a staff member from the foundation. Kara and Michael could not wait to say “thank you for your service.” We chatted for a bit, and he told us how much he was enjoying Maine and how he could not wait to return again for another vacation. Our conversation stuck with our family, and we often think about Adam and if he ever came back to Maine to vacation.
In May 2018, our family reviewed the wish list on Amazon for the foundation and decided to donate an Echo Dot. By chance, we had stopped to capture a family photo at the retreat during the off-season, when two volunteers offered to give us a tour. We were so excited and greatly appreciated the time they spent with us. Scott and I quickly realized what an amazing organization this is and how much good it is doing for the recalibrated veteran families.
July 4, 2018, As soon as the parade ended, Kara and Michael were ten steps ahead of Scott and me anxious to say “thank you,” to the recalibrated veterans that were on the Village Inn’s lawn. Michael enjoyed talking to a soldier who said Maine was warmer than St. Augustine, Florida. Another soldier was so excited he went across the street to buy popsicles for everyone. We stayed for a bit chatting and welcoming them to Maine. Again, this experience stayed with Michael and Kara. They could not wait to tell all their cousins about the heroes they met.
On February 18, 2019, we were in Maine for winter break. When Michael was riding back to our home from the store he saw tracks in the snow in front of the retreat and said, ”Mom, did Travis Mills host families this week?” That’s when he learned that the foundation had hosted their first week of winter programming. Then the idea from Michael came next: “Mom, instead of birthday presents this year, I want to raise enough money for all the children who go to Travis Mills to have ice cream on the boat at Lakeside Scoop.” As soon as we got home we shared the idea with Scott, and it has blossomed from there.
Michael has accomplished his goal of $400 for all of the kids to enjoy ice cream at Day’s Store well before his birthday, but has set a new goal of $30,000. This new fundraising goal will be enough to host a week of eight recalibrated veteran families at the Travis Mills Foundation. Michael is a very patriotic boy. If you ask him, he will tell you one of his favorite songs is God Bless The USA by Lee Greenwood. To help support Michael, check out his fundraising page at scoopsfortroops.org. Also check out his story here- bit.ly/ScoopsForTroops