Reaching the end of the road

HANCOCK – One of the services provided by Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is the delivery of fire wood to some of the organization’s elderly friends who heat with wood, but the truck used for the service no longer functions well.

Mark Cinelli, LBFE development director, said the organization acquired the 1988 GMC pickup truck in 1995 from the United States Forest Service. Since then, it’s been used every year to deliver cut and split fire wood.

“It’s been really hard service miles,” he said.

Because of the heavy use the truck had, Cinelli said it needed a rebuilt engine, and the rear end was replaced.

Although the staff and volunteers who cut, split and deliver the wood usually are finished in November, Cinelli said because of the long, cold winter this year, wood deliveries continued into December, January and February, which put an unexpected strain on the truck.

“With the cold weather, everyone ran out (of fire wood),” he said. “(That extra work) has been its undoing.”

Cinelli said the staff at LBFE would like to get another pickup truck with no more than 40,000 miles on it. The plan is to install a dump bed like the current truck has. They would also like to install a snow plow blade. It’s hoped the truck, dump bed and plow can be purchased for about $40,000.

So far, Cinelli said some of that money has been acquired through a donation from the Alden and Vada Dow Foundation.

“They gave us $10,000 for it last December,” he said.

Another $8,100 was collected by a LBFE board member, but Cinelli said that amount requires a one-to-one match.

“We haven’t matched it all yet,” he said.

To get the remaining amount needed to get another properly-equipped truck, Cinelli said LBFE is selling raffle tickets for $40 each. The top prize in the raffle is $20,000; second prize is $3,000; and third prize is $1,000. There will be no more than 1,200 tickets sold, Cinelli said. About 160 tickets were sold as of Tuesday. If all 1,200 tickets are sold, LBFE will get $24,000.

The drawing will be Aug. 2, but Cinelli said it’s hoped the truck can be purchased and equipped before that.

“We’d like to have it on the road by July,” he said.

For those not interested in the raffle, LBFE is asking for donations to help cover the cost of the truck. For more information about the raffle or to donate, stop at the LBFE office at 527 Hancock St. in Hancock or mail checks to that address and write “Wood Truck Raffle” on the memo line. Donations or raffle ticket purchases can also be made online at houghton.littlebrothers.org.