When your community parish asks you to build a float, you say YES.
As you may know, Ouellet Construction has been working hard on a project for All Saints Parish in Brunswick, ME. The new building will serve many purposes and groups, including All Saints Parish, St. John’s Catholic School, and Brunswick community members. The public continues to show strong support as the soon-to-be multipurpose event center begins to take shape.
The 2018 Memorial Day parade was the perfect opportunity for St. John’s Catholic School to show their Viking pride and spirit, but they help. As members of the Brunswick community, Ouellet felt the need to step up and show our support for the school. The Memorial Day float was much more than leading a fun project, it was about serving our community.
Bringing Back the Viking Spirit
Since working on the St. John’s Catholic School campus, Ouellet has gained much insight into the school and parish community. When they asked us to build them a float for the Memorial Day parade, we were honored to help.
“We were moved to hear that [building a float] would allow St. John’s Catholic School the opportunity to have a presence in the Memorial Day parade — an event they had not participated in for several years.” -Mike Ouellet
St. John’s wanted to participate in this year’s parade but thinking of having the younger children carry their instruments the entire length of the parade was unrealistic.
[Enter: idea for Viking float!]
Designing and Building the Float
Designing and building the float was a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work!
From drawing the initial blueprints to putting on the finishing touches, it was no small project, but it was well worth the time and effort we put into it.
Here are the original drawings for each side of the float:
Not to toot our own horn, but, Ouellet Construction does know a little something about design and construction, and we think the float came out really well!
Seeing the float in the Memorial Day parade this year was undoubtedly a proud moment for the children, parents, and the administration of the St. John’s School. The younger band members got to play their instruments sitting down, while other school children stood dressed in Viking attire, waving pom-poms and American flags.
“We really hope [the float] helped spark awareness and importance of the school in our community and that it is alive and well.” -Mike Ouellet
Ouellet’s favorite part of the experience was seeing the smiles and pride of the kids, parents, alumni, teachers, and volunteers that participated. Mike Ouellet added, “As the driver, seeing the expressions on people’s faces as they got to see the float, the loud cheers coming from the crowd, and the “Hey! Way to go, St. John’s!!!” was worth it all.”
Here’s what the finished float looked like in the parade:
Ouellet’s Connection to the Community
Mike Ouellet was raised in Northern Maine, where the population was primarily Catholic, and his three children all went to school at St. John’s. He and his family have been living in Brunswick since 1986, and the Ouellet Construction business has been headquartered there since early 1992.
“Brunswick is not only home to us, but to many of our employees. Brunswick is part of the Ouellet fabric.” -Mike Ouellet
We are passionate about supporting the communities we live and work in. The entire Ouellet team understands that even a small donation of time or money makes an impact on a smaller organization or community. We give back to our community whenever we have the chance, in whatever ways we can.
“Having a parochial school in our community is important to Brunswick in many more ways than we realize. Being able to bring St. John’s school back into the limelight of the Memorial Day parade was important to us.” –Mike Ouellet
A Thank You to All Volunteers
Designing, building, and displaying the float in the parade was a group effort, with many volunteers involved in various aspects of the process. Ouellet would like to recognize the many people who played a part in putting the float together and helping it travel down the streets of Brunswick this past Memorial Day.
St. John’s Catholic School Staff, Students, and Parents
Principal Tim Forte and his wife were present on the day of the parade, helping with organization, as were several parents of school children participating in the parade.
A St. John’s Catholic School parent by the name of Paul, along with his wife and kindergarten daughter helped tremendously with the building and painting of the float.
Another parent and two little girls came to help paint the float as well.
Former St. John’s Catholic School staff member, Amber Wilson, was instrumental in bringing the vision for the float to life. Even though she had moved on to other employment just before the parade, she remained involved in the project to see it through. She even took a day off from her new job to help paint!
New to Maine just a few months prior, Deidra Elztroth was invited to help with the painting of the float by Amber Wilson and generously dedicated time to help.
John’s Catholic School staff member, Alicia Snow, took the lead on the project after Amber’s departure and was instrumentally helpful in the success of the float.
Thank You, Sherwin Williams and Androscoggin Bank!
We would also like to thank Sherwin Williams for donating the paint and supplies, along with Androscoggin Bank, for donating all the banners.
Ouellet Family and Staff
Ouellet Construction provided the truck and all the remaining materials, along with several hours of paid employee time, to construct the float. Several members of the Ouellet family, Ouellet Construction staff, and their family members participated in the construction of the float.
Worked on developing ideas for the float design, the final painting of the float, and driving the truck.
Alan Nickerson, Jr.
Lead the building of the float from a very simplistic 8 1/2” X 11” sketch of paper. He took it upon himself to research Viking Ships online to turn the sketch into reality.
Alan Nickerson, Sr.
Alan Jr.’s father also helped with the building of the float.
Mike’s daughter, Jenny was also instrumental in helping with the final painting of the float, as well as organizing on the day of the parade.
Luke also helped generate ideas for the float and participated as a volunteer the day of the parade.
“Regardless of how small or big a part anyone played in the float, to me, they were all equally important as without one of these links the float may not have happened.” – Mike Ouellet
See You Next Year!
Ouellet is storing the float in our warehouse for safe-keeping until next year’s parade. We sincerely hope there will be an even larger involvement of students, parents, and alumni to expand exposure for the school.