Perry Resident Spreads Holiday Cheer

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Kathleen Staples of the Calais Free Library accepts her box of Ganongs chocolates from Len Bard, an appreciative customer. Bard believes in giving a small token of his appreciation for good service throughout the year. Photo by Dorothy Johnson)

By Dorothy Johnson

Len Bard, Calais businessman and Perry resident, truly believes that it is better to give than to receive. That is why for the third year, Bard traveled around the area giving gifts to the faithful workers who have given him service with a smile all year.

With his Santa hat, he visited the Calais Advertiser, the Perry Post Office, the Calais Free Library and his bank and presented gifts of Ganong chocolates or home-bottled wine to service providers. 

“This is my way of saying thank you for all of the great service through the year,” he said. “This gift is just a small token to show my appreciation.”

Bard said that it’s about making those who have helped him feel appreciated.

“At the library, they don’t make any money there, but they’ve been good to me,” he said. “If I want to rent a movie and they don’t have it they’ll order it for me.”

Bard moved to the area in 2003 after living away for 47 years. When he first got here, he said, at some places he didn’t receive the warm welcome he was hoping for. “I was a PFA – Person From Away,” he said. “It’s not that I hold a grudge, but I remember who has been good to me and who wasn’t. There are some places that have consistently been really good – and that makes a big difference in where I chose to shop or spend my time.”

Some of the qualities he looks for include a smile and remembering his name.

“Some of them call me by my first name,” he said. “I’m friends with them, I’m not a number. It feels good, like I’m part of their family. Some go out of their way to be nice, and not just because I’ve been nice to them. They’ve been that way from the beginning and it means a lot to me.

As this is the season of giving, Bard said that giving back to those who are kind all year is the least he could do.

“When someone does something for you and you say thank you it feels good,” he said. “It’s simply the right thing to do. It lets them know I appreciate them.”

— Additional reporting by Marla Hoffman