2017 - Eric Robinson and Kevin Robinson

The Sites family

With great pleasure, the North Yarmouth Events Committee presents the 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award to Eric D. Robinson and Kevin M. Robinson, Sr.

The “Robinson boys” moved to North Yarmouth in 1966 as young children and have many fond memories of growing up in our small town. Their grandfather, Maynard W. Robinson, Sr., was in the construction business. After being awarded a contract to fill in Marginal Way in Portland, he purchased a pit off Route 115 currently known as the Cassidy Pit. This led to the family’s residency in North Yarmouth.

Their father, Richard J. Robinson, Sr., purchased the Gilbert Martin property at Lufkin Road and New Gloucester Road. He owned Walnut Hill Sand and Gravel, and farming was his hobby. The boys grew up farming and working in the family business. Before they were old enough to get their driver’s licenses, they were driving dump trucks and bull dozers. Kevin says, “It was an adventure to have a whole sand pit as our playground.” Eric remembers his dad as a “no-nonsense type of guy who brought us up to solve problems and see them through.”

Eric Robinson served as a Submarine Nuclear Technician in the U.S. Navy from 1979 to 1985. He and wife Patti have three children and two grandchildren. They currently reside in Yarmouth, but consider North Yarmouth their home.

Kevin Robinson and wife Sheila Nyquist have five children and four grandchildren. They reside in North Yarmouth.

You may ask what led them to be nominated for the Distinguished Citizen award. As Paul Harvey would have said, “and now for the rest of the story....”

In 1949 Henry Sweetser sold a five-acre parcel of land to the North Yarmouth Memorial Park Corporation, which created a park to honor the town’s military veterans. The park is located at the corner of Memorial Highway (Route 9) and Parsonage Road.

In the 1970s, the park came under the care of the Town and the Select Board, which appointed three of its members to serve as the Board of Directors for the Corporation. The Select Board kept the Corporation active, but few improvements were made to the park. Fearing that people would forget the park’s original mission, in 2014 North Yarmouth resident Paul Hodgetts approached several local citizens — including Eric Robinson and Kevin Robinson — for help in preserving the park. They agreed to help save the park to be used as originally intended.

Their quiet demeanor and strong sense of family values make Eric and Kevin ideal spokesmen to put the future of the North Yarmouth Memorial Park back under the stewardship of local veterans and other interested persons. Along with other volunteers, they drafted new by-laws that were accepted by the acting Board of Directors in September 2014. A new board and slate of officers were elected. Eric was elected President, and Kevin was appointed to the new Board of Directors. Both continue to serve in these roles.

Under their leadership membership has grown, and money has been raised to run programs for honoring veterans and to improve the site. Trees were cleared for improved visibility. A parking lot was added. New trail signs were added for the existing trail, and a new trail was built and named in memory of Henry W. Sweetser. The most visible change is the addition of a large American flag flanked by flags for each branch of the service.

The Robinsons have contributed countless hours to make this park something for our veterans to be proud of! Many people are involved in these projects, and it will take more volunteers to sustain the park. However, Eric and Kevin can take pride in knowing they have made a huge difference in our community — a difference which is deeply felt and appreciated.

Eric Robinson and Kevin Robinson serve as an example to future generations of the importance of volunteering and recognizing the sacrifices made by men and women in the armed services.

Visit the park, enjoy the trails, and take a moment to reflect on those who served so that we could be free.