What does community mean to you? Frank Vogt This is the second in a series of profiles featuring area residents’ thoughts on community—what they love, their hopes for the future, what they would like to see continue or change. Interviews for profiles are conducted by members of the Mahoosuc Heart and Soul team. If you’d like to learn more, or be interviewed for this series or for the ongoing Heart and Soul project, please contact Program Coordinator Catherine Ingraham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-590-0541. Mahoosuc Heart and Soul team member Nancy Davis interviewed Frank Vogt, who, with his wife, Janie, has lived in Bethel for 58 years. Frank began by talking about the charms of small-town life and commented on a perspective he experienced early in his Bethel life. Frank: A Bethel Planning Board discussion focused on the tension between retaining small-town values and encouraging the appropriate amount of progress, a balance challenge that remains today. In my time as Chairman, there was the issue of Bethel Station, which, if it had realized its design, would have meant the town would all be across the railroad tracks, and Main Street would have lost the village feeling. What brought you and Janie here? Frank: My history in Maine began with Uncle Dan Regan, who became my surrogate fatherafter my father’s death when I was 3 years old.We lived in Massachusetts, and every summer he brought me to Norway. My very first impression was “What a beautiful state!” I was always looking for ways to get back to Maine. I married a Norway girl, and in 1951 Janie and I moved to North Bridgton, where I taught at Bridgton Academy. After 6 years there, I taught in Massachusetts before settling into Gould Academy, where I taught for 22 years. What has kept you here? Frank (with a big grin): The fishing! (this from the “Flyrod”-car owner) Anything else? Frank: I came here as an alpine skier and skied at Sunday River a few times, and then I became attracted to nordic skiing, and I’m so glad, because I’ve been able to enjoy it for a long time. And that allowed me to become a part of a very great program. I was a charter member of the nordic portion of the Maine Handicapped Skiing Program (now Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation). What’s important to keep in the community? Frank responded without hesitation, mentioning two institutions whose formation he had witnessed. Frank: The Land Trust. Since its beginning I‘ve been very active in the organization and believe that it is important that we care for this remarkable environment. The Bethel Area Health Center, which provides important and varied services for people like Janie. She loves her doctor, and we both rely heavily on the BFHC, as do many others. The schools. I feel it is too bad to see a town want to withdraw from the school district. The public schools serve our community well, and it’s important to have the involvement of all the towns. Gould Academy brings people and benefits to the community. Music Without Borders at Gould Academy - how many towns can claim such a thing! The Bethel Historical Society. Our neighbor, the Bethel Inn, has helped to put Bethel on the map, especially after Dick Rasor’s purchase in 1979. And, of course, Sunday River Ski Area, which brings a degree of prosperity to the area because of the people who come to the village. Frank gained a further appreciation for Maine’s resources from George Howe, who, years ago, lived alone at the top of Pike’s Hill in Norway. Frank: George introduced my young buddies and me to ‘pearl winning,’ the extraction of pearls from fresh water clams. He was eager to protect the valuable geological and mineralogical resources in this area. He felt there should be a place to keep them - and here we have such a museum! Bethel’s Maine Mineral and Gem Museum will be known internationally, which is really something. What would you change to make this community even better? Frank quotes Heraclitus – “There is nothing permanent except change” - but admits to little that he would like changed for the future of his children and grandchildren in the area. Frank: All localities have their ups and downs, but it seems to me that from the day we first arrived in Bethel, there’s never been anything that has caused us to think it was something other than what we thought it to be. It seems to have suited us perfectly, and we often feel we haven’t deserved to be living here. Bethel has been fortunate to have you, Frank and Janie!