MACHIAS, Maine — It’s prom season in Maine.
One prom Sunday in Machias is proving that it’s never too late to ask the right person to the big dance.
A True Senior Prom was held at the Machias Memorial High School gymnasium Sunday afternoon but it's not a prom for the high school seniors.
It’s a prom for residents of assisted living facilities across Washington County.
This prom was actually meant for seniors, some of whom missed their first chance to go to a prom.
After so many years of marriage that they actually lost count, Don Burke and his high school sweetheart, Emma, got to be at this senior prom together. Burke was away at war during their high school prom.
"I was in Germany then and she wrote me a letter asking for permission to go to her prom," said Don.
Emma went to that prom but she admits, it wasn't the same without Don.
Luckily for him, she didn't find a new sweetheart.
"It did work," said Don, through laughter. "Still got stuck with her."
After all those years, Don got another chance to take his date to the True Senior Prom.
The county’s activities directors planned an afternoon of music, dancing, and lunch for the seniors.
"I really don't think they knew what to think about it until they actually got here and heard the music and saw the decorations and that's when it all fell into place," said Maine Veterans Home in Machias activities supervisor, Lisa Cirone. "The stories leading up to the prom from the Burke's and other residents; Some never made it to their prom."
So for some, like Don, it was their first chance to get dressed up all spiffy in bow ties and boutonnieres.
This prom even crowned Mike Stergeous as prom king and and Maynell Whitney as queen!
Cirone said this prom is just one way activities directors at different facilities try to get its residents together and build their sense of community.
“It's for the residents not to think they’re isolated in a facility," said Cirone. "We always want them to feel they are still a part of the community, which they are."
The event was organized by the Community Caring Collaborative and sponsored by Washington County Thriving in Place, an initiative funded by the Maine Health Access Foundation.
Cirone said this is the first “senior prom” of its kind in Washington County but she is hoping to make it an annual event.