Volunteer Enjoys to Start Her Day at the Travis Mills Foundation

When the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic hit, making remote working possible, Christine Ferrara found herself at her aunt’s home on Messalonskee Lake near Belgrade – and the Travis Mills Foundation.

Christine heard about the Travis Mills Foundation when it was featured on Maine Cabin Masters and Dirty Jobs.

Since then, Christine purchased her own home away from home on Messalonskee Lake and resides partially in Oakland, Maine, when she’s not residing in Methuen, Massachusetts.

She started volunteering at the Foundation in Spring 2021, while also working from home.

“I enjoy [working in the kitchen the most]. Which is funny because at home, I’m never in the kitchen. It is good to have direction from the chefs,” Christine said. “For the 6 months out of the year that I am in Maine, I usually do [the] breakfast [shift] and then I can go back home and start my work day a little bit later.”

Christine loves beginning her day volunteering at the Travis Mills Foundation.

“It’s funny because I mentioned to [Volunteer Coordinator] John Romac that I never thought I would be happy to get up at 5 am to do something because I am not the biggest morning person,” Christine said. “It just starts my day on such a high, positive note that it carries through the rest of the day. My mood changes and it helps me to just remember and reflect on how lucky I am.”

With the chaos of life, Christine feels much joy being able to spend time at the Foundation giving back to post-911 recalibrated veterans and their families.

“It helps me to stop and remember how lucky I actually am – with seeing the families and the difficulties that they have gone through, it just makes me more grateful.”

Volunteer at the Travis Mills Foundation >>>

EXPERIENCE

Chirstine especially enjoys interacting with the recalibrated veterans and their families who come to the retreat during the summers and meeting the Warrior PATHH (Progressive Alternative Training for Helping Heroes) participants. 

“I think it is not one specific memory [that stands out], but it is just the whole experience,” Christine said. “Just the opportunity to meet and interact with so many people and just to see the appreciation that they have.”

“I should be the one thanking them for what they have done and their service, and all that they have done for this country, and yet they’re thanking me for being there – which still amazes me.”

Christine’s grandfather served in the U.S. Navy, her nephew is currently serving in the U.S. Army, and her uncle served in the Korean War. Because of these connections, she has a deep appreciation for the military community and the sacrifices of the families served at the Travis Mills Foundation.

During her six months of the year Christine spends in Maine, she enjoys being able to give back to those who served this country.

“I had one gentleman during the PATHH program who asked me what I get out of this, and it just made me stop and think for a minute,” Christine said.

“Well, you know, you guys are here to try and get on a better path for yourselves and if I can help in any small way for that, being it so that you don’t have to worry about your meal that you’re going to eat, just the gratefulness that I have to be able to give back in a small way.”

While being able to serve PATHH participants, recalibrated veterans, and their families is enjoyable for Christine, she is grateful to be surrounded by an incredible group of people while doing it.

“The appreciation for the staff and the volunteers who I think are just the most phenomenal people I have ever met,” Christine said.