Often when someone leaves a position held for many years, people have taken for granted what that person has accomplished. Only after they leave do people realize what they have lost, as is the case with Dresden and Trudy Foss.
Foss faithfully and humbly went about her various duties for her beloved Dresden for 29 years, until her recent retirement from the position of administrative assistant.
“I loved to do this and take care of the people in my town,” she said.
Little do many residents of her small town realize what they had in Foss. Her due diligence and the difference it made may have gone unnoticed in the everyday functioning of town affairs.
Her concern for the well-being of many residents over her 29 years of service will stay in the memories of people she has helped through her positions, including through the general assistance program.
Foss said she would persuade elderly residents to accept help even though, because of their pride, they did not want anyone to know about their needs.
“They don’t want people to know what their income is,” she said. She said she could not ignore their plight and would have them come into the office before it opened so no one would know.
“I’m going to miss helping people in the town,” she said. “There’s a lot of good people out there.”
Now she will have more spare time to do things like volunteer, which she likes to do, though she will continue to fulfill a few town duties. She will continue on as the Dresden Water District supervisor and will assess property values for the town.
Over the past several years, she took on the work of a town administrator, despite her title of administrative assistant. An administrator acts much like a town manager, with the exception of hiring and firing.
Nevertheless, Foss went about her work without complaining because of her love of the town in which she resides. People matter to her, like the elderly who received home visits from Foss, unbeknownst to many locals.
She will no doubt find another way to make a contribution that will help better her fellow residents’ lives.
“I’ll still be at selectmen’s meetings once in a while,” she said. People will see her about town just the same, people who in many cases have become her friends.
Foss worked with many selectmen during her career. New selectmen often required some training for the work of running the town. Foss was there to take them by the hand and instruct them in some of the challenging tasks that town officials face.
Third Selectman Allan Moeller Sr., the longest-serving current member of the board of selectmen, has benefited from Foss’ tutelage.
“It’s a big loss with her gone,” Moeller said. “She taught me so much about politics and how to go about doing things.”
“She was like a mother hen to all of us,” Moeller said. She nicknamed him “Mull.” “She’d say, ‘Calm down, Mull, it’s going to be alright,” he said, and that made him laugh.
“She kept our town going for 28 years,” Moeller said.
Looking back over her past with the town, Foss recalled with a bit of laughter how she had to handwrite everything. Technology gained a foothold gradually.
One of the most difficult times during her tenure happened quite a few years ago, when the then-town clerk got charged with embezzlement. The case shook the whole community, and Foss played a vital role in keeping things stable and accounting up to snuff.
Although Foss now lives in Dresden, she grew up in Brunswick and graduated from Brunswick High School. Later she lived in Richmond.
In 1988, Foss began work as a bus driver for Dresden. In 1989, she began serving in the town office as property tax collector, then town clerk. In the early days, she would do her work at home and by hand.
Eventually Foss took courses on budgeting and became the mainstay for town budgeting up until the present. She has made herself available to the new administrative assistant, Michael Henderson, whom the town hired to replace Foss.
Foss will continue her assessing work throughout the year, when abatement applications come up, but most of her work will consist of assessing properties in the summer months.
Her work as water district supervisor began early in her career, when gasoline from the local gas station leached into wells in the village area. The town installed a water system for 12 homes in the vicinity to remedy the problem in 1996. Now 17 homes, some of which have dry wells, use the water system.
For three years in recent times, Foss did a lot of baking, especially of her to-die-for whoopie pies, which quickly became the drawing card for the convenience store she owned on Route 27 in neighboring Pittston. She had a variety of flavors of whoopie pies, a unique Maine specialty.
She makes her whoopie pies more like the real thing, unlike the cake-like pies on the market. “They’re crunchy,” she said.
Her immediate plans don’t include a lot of baking for the public, but she grinned a bit, revealing she may do it in the future. “I’ll be sure to let you know,” she said.
Foss mainly aspires to do more of the craft fairs she has done in the past as a hobby. She has placed knitting boiled-wool ski hats high on her bucket list, along with a trip to Florida sometime this year.
Foss has three sons, a daughter, 12 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren whom she plans to spend more time with than her career has allowed in the past.