Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, Ann, visite Camp Sunshine in Casco this morning to recognize the work of the Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion, which is using a two-week summer training program to help the camp out with some much needed work.
The National Guardsmen with the 133rd are installing a fence, shingling a gazebo and repairing a bridge, according to a Camp Sunshine announcement this morning. This visit marks the fourth time since 1992 the Battalion has donated work to the Sebago Lakeside camp, which provides retreats to children battling life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Here’s a statement on the subject by Camp Sunshine Executive Director Matt Hoidal:
We are deeply indebted to the Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Battalion for their impact on our Camp Sunshine campus during the past two decades. It’s an important and valued partnership for us, and we look forward to their continued support for many more years to come.
LePage was accompanied today not only by his wife, but also Deputy Legal Counsel Michael Cianchette and Robert McAleer, acting director of Maine’s Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management. While visiting the site, LePage proclaimed today — June 26, 2012 — Camp Sunshine Day in Maine.
Here’s a few more paragraphs about Camp Sunshine, as well as its history with the 133rd, as provided during an organization announcement this afternoon:
Camp Sunshine is one of the only programs in the nation with a mission to address the impact on the entire family. Last year alone, more than 700 families from across the U.S. attended one of 25 weeklong sessions held throughout the year. There is no charge to participating families.
Camp Sunshine’s partnership with the Maine Army National Guard started in 1992 when soldiers from the 133rd helped clear and stump the grounds of what would become the permanent campus. In addition to clearing and grading the property, soldiers constructed roads and drainage.
One year later, the 133rd returned to build the gazebo, the first official structure on the property. The 133rd came back again in 1998 and, despite torrential rainfall for an entire week, built a bathhouse, a small pond, and a bridge across the pond strong enough to support the Guard’s heavy equipment.
“For the soldiers of the 133rd, this experience began as a training operation but soon evolved into a mission of caring and support,” Hoidal said. “We are honored that the Battalion has returned again.”