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• One of the people who died in the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, James Audiffred loved Maine lighthouses, and in July of 2001, he and his family visited Cape Elizabeth Light, a 67-foot lighthouse south of Portland, Maine. His wife, Robin Audiffred, said, “My sister’s oldest thought it was a little boring, but he [James Audiffred] didn’t care. He was having a ball.” After the terrorist attack, Carolyn and Gary Brouillard, owners of Dennett’s Wharf, a lobster restaurant in Castine, Maine, sent Mrs. Audiffred a check for $12,313. The money came from the dollar bills that they had collected from their customers for 11 years and attached to the ceiling. (The process involves a quarter and a tack and a good throw.) Customers would ask how the money had ended up on the ceiling, and Mr. Brouillard would answer, “All you need to do is give me a dollar and I’ll be more than happy to show you.” Carolyn Brouillard wanted the money to go to a 9-11 victim. On the Internet, she read about Mr. Audiffred, a 38-year-old elevator operator from Brooklyn who took tourists up to Windows of the World in the World Trade Center. When the Brouillards made the decision to donate the money to Mrs. Audiffred, they did not know that Mr. Audiffred was a fan of Maine lighthouses. Mr. Brouillard said that it was “a total surprise.” Carolyn Brouillard is humble about their good deed. She said, “We’re not anybody special. We haven’t done anything special. It’s not like we took $12,000 and donated it.” Gary Brouillard said, “There are close to 12,000 people who have given to this. Anyone that ever put a dollar on the ceiling is a part of it.” Many, many people have written the Brouillards to thank them for their good deed. Church members gave the Brouillards a signed card and a check for $100 for Robin Audiffred. People mailed them notes with such comments as these: “What a wonderful thing you have done.” “With all the terrible acts that have taken place, it is good to see the best coming out of people.” “How much we would all like to run up there to Maine (out east there) and spend our money to eat at your wonderful establishment. What else could it be but wonderful?” Carolyn Brouillard said, “I’ve gotten a really good feeling from all this. I really get the feeling that other people are affirming my pain, their pain. We all felt the pain when we saw those towers go down. Everybody just wants to do something. I think of it as a conspiracy for goodness. People are letting people know that they care. They’re just trying to do something good for someone else.” People also mailed the Brouillards dollar bills to attach to the ceiling of the restaurant. Carolyn Brouillard said, “I went to the post office on Saturday, and opened the mail and a dollar fell out. I just started to cry.” After taking down all the money to give to Mrs. Audiffred, Gary Brouillard had immediately restarted the tradition. He said, “After the last dollar came down, I took a $5 bill, put my name on it and stuck it up on the ceiling. Before we left that day, we had about $30 back on the ceiling.” Mrs. Audiffred was surprised to get in the mail the check for $12,313. Carolyn Brouillard said, “She just couldn’t believe it. She said she cried for an hour before she could call me.” In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, the Brouillards donated the money from the ceiling for another charitable cause. When Gary Brouillard was asked if he would ever again take the dollars down from the ceiling to donate after a disaster, he replied, “I hope I don’t ever have to.”
For Further Information: James Audiffred, “Feeling Maine’s Glow.” New York Times. The Collected Portraits of Grief. P. 25.
For Further Information: Rich Hewitt, “Couple sees good deed multiply; Ceiling’s the limit for pair who aided WTC victim.” Bangor Daily News (Maine). 24 October 2001
For Further Information: Paul and Carolyn Hanczark, “By the Sea Maine Style.” American Public House. 2007. Accessed 12 August 2013.
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