Successful Benefit Supper Held for Ralph Flood of Cooper

Rae Ackley, Kathy Hull, and Laurie Pike cheerfully serving up food while showing their veteran colors.

By Laurie Pike

 

On Saturday, April 21, 2018 rural Maine showed again why living in the country in Maine where people know each other is a blessing and how living here “is the way life should be” because we take care of each other when a need arises.  The community came together for longtime Cooper resident, Ralph Flood and his wife, Arline. We put on a spaghetti supper benefit with a Chinese auction and local bands providing musical entertainment throughout the evening.  The community stepped up donating items for the auction and offering to cook for the benefit.  The night was a great success raising $2,317 to help Ralph and Arline Flood.  Although Ralph was not well enough to attend the event, Arline attended with a number of her siblings and family members in attendance to support her and the event.  Ralph is eighty-eight years old and he was diagnosed after the Christmas holidays with a malignant brain tumor that had metastasized from a previously undetected tumor in his lung.  He participated in some radiation but given his age, the oncologist couldn’t do anything further to treat the tumors.  He was then moved to hospice care at Marshall’s Health Care Nursing Facility in Machias, Maine where he could get total around the clock care.  Ralph is doing as well as can be expected and still knows his family members during visits.    

Ralph Flood was born a twin on January 26, 1930 into a family of nine children.  He has been a resident of Cooper for all his life except for his time serving in the United States Navy from 1950 to 1954 during the Korean War.  He was a signalman quartermaster and worked on the ship as helmsman.  He was stationed out of Norfolk, Virginia and spent most of the time aboard ship in the area of the Caribbean Islands and Cuban waters.  Since his active service duty, he has held many offices in the American Legion for over forty-five years.  Ralph joined the Cathance Grange #510 in 1944 and holds the office of Master Stewart of Pomona Grange.  Over the years, Ralph has taken care of the winter roads in Cooper, served as the Cooper Road Commissioner, and worked as the Republican Ballot Clerk for twenty years.  Ralph has also volunteered his time working on the town cemeteries, Cooper Fire Department, and the Cooper School Board.  Ralph married Arline Day and raised six children in Cooper.  They have many grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Despite his illness and failing health, Ralph stills tells Arline that he loves her every day and he reminds her that have loved each other for a long time.  Ralph and Arline Flood have been married for 67 years and that definitely meets the criteria of a very long time.   

We first heard about Ralph’s illness when his son, Eric Flood started a GoFundMe page.  The Town of Cooper wanted to do something to show our support so we planned the benefit supper and we enlisted organizations that Ralph has been part of most of his life.  The Calais American Legion where Ralph is a member provided financial support to help put on the dinner and provided an American flag for our Chinese auction.    The Alexander Grange #304 provided financial support, auction items, and an abundance of elbow grease putting on this event and showing us how it is done.  I was so thankful for their guidance and physical presence in making this a successful event.  Town elected select board officials also provided personal financial support towards the dinner.  Thank you to Elizabeth McVicar, Alexander Grange for collecting funds at the door for the dinner; Brenda McPhail, Alexander Grange and Michelle McVicar for selling tickets all evening and local young people, Ashleigh, Willow, and Jeremy for help setting and cleaning up.  Thank you to Ed Hanson, Brenda Gove, and Mary Dunn for the homemade spaghetti sauces that were so yummy and to Dale Holst, Alexander Grange and Kathleen Hull, Cooper Town Clerk for serving the spaghetti.  Dale looked especially fetching in his hair net and fashionable gloves.  Thank you to Rae Ackley, Town Treasurer; Brenda Gove, Selectman; and Debbie Hubbard, Treasurer of the Cathance Lake Association for donations and for helping set up and keep the food tables stocked throughout the event. A special thanks to the two bands who volunteered their musical services for the event.  Timber Creek band members Frank Seger, Jim O’Neill, and John Viselli played first.  Frank Seger played the mandolin while Jim O’Neill played the base, and John Viselli played the guitar.  The O’McCrelli Band playing second included Kara McCrimmon on the accordion, Irish whistle, and guitar; Jim O’Neill on the base, guitar, and banjo; and John Viselli on the mandolin and the violin.  Thank you to Alexander for the use of their facility and to everyone who sent financial help, baked goods, and just dropped in to help.  There are so many that I cannot list all the names.

At the end of a great night, Arline Flood expressed her appreciation and thanked everyone for their support.  I will be putting together the photos from the event to provide to her to show to Ralph on one of his good days.  We will continue to think of him and wish him comfort and pain free days.  Mail any cards and well wishes to Ralph Flood at Marshall’s Health Care Facility, 16 Beal Street, Machias, Maine, 04654.  

Ralph Flood.

The O’McCrelli Band played during the benefit.