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The men who keep one Maine museum going

Most visitors to the Maine Forest and Logging Museum don’t know about a dozen volunteers who work behind the scenes to keep the museum running.

BRADLEY, Maine — Deep in the woods in Bradley, more than a mile from the main road, is the Maine Forest and Logging Museum.

Its goal is to preserve Maine's rich logging history for the next generation.

This couldn't be done without a group of a dozen men quietly working behind the scenes, none of the museum's visitors even know about.

They call themselves the “Tuesday Crew” because they can be found working at the museum every Tuesday.

With the help of a few friends, Herb Crosby got a Lombard steam log hauler up and running last Tuesday, as if it were 1928 all over again.

"I'm pretty lucky, don't you think,” asked Crosby. “I mean, who gets to actually run four different, I don't know anybody, four different Lombard log haulers whenever I want. I mean, you couldn't pay for this."

If his passion for the Lombard isn't contagious enough, his laugh certainly is.

The Orono resident is a former University of Maine professor of Mechanical Engineering for 34 years.

Crosby first got involved with the Maine Forest and Logging Museum when he was tasked with restoring a 1907 Lombard built in Maine.

"I'm still here because of that thing,” said Crosby through laughter.

Now, he's part of a group of a dozen retirees who volunteer their time weekly to keep the museum running.

"There's a lot to do,” said Crosby. “There's so much to do. I have a list this long of things we need to do. Air filter, we got that done. We've got a compressor I'd like to try.”

"It basically ends up being just a bunch of old dubs, all retired,” said Kenduskeag resident Byron Aubrey, who is also part of the Tuesday Crew.

Credit: NCM

A "Senior Daycare Center,” and with each "senior,” a story of how they came to volunteer at the museum.

Aubrey retired in 2003 as a supervisor at Bangor’s General Electric power facility. In 2005, he trained with a friend who got him involved as a blacksmith at the museum. His friend got sick and ended up in a nursing home, but Aubrey kept coming back to the museum, 14 years, through good times and bad.

"I just lost my wife this past weekend,” said Aubrey, while fighting back tears last Tuesday.

His wife, Jackie, passed away after a brief battle with cancer.

"I wasn't going to really come today but my daughter kind of said, 'you need to go,’” said Aubrey, tears turning to laughter. “It's been good for my head today."

Aubrey, Crosby, and their fellow retirees know that no matter what is going on in their personal lives, they can come to the museum each and every Tuesday to volunteer and be among friends.

"It gets me out of the house, and I need that especially right now,” added Aubrey.

"They say you meet the finest people volunteering and I think that's really true,” said Crosby. “I could do a lot of things but I'm meeting wonderful people and just enjoy working with them. They're all generous to a fault, enthusiastic. They're the people you want to hang out with if you could.”

The men, whose ages average in the 80’s, prove it's never too late, and you're never too old, to find something to keep you going.

"Everybody has their own talents,” added Crosby. “I learn so much."

The group meets every Tuesday morning, year-round, and works the full day only taking a break to have lunch together and celebrate birthdays.

They are always looking for more volunteers to join their "Senior Daycare Center."

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