HALLOWELL — Gov. Paul LePage took drink orders, pulled beer taps to fill plastic glasses and exchanged handshakes with patrons Monday evening as he worked behind the long bar at the Quarry Tap Room.

LePage is the latest and one of the highest-profile guest bartenders that the bar has brought in to help raise money for various charities.

On Monday, a dollar from each drink sale went to the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at aiding combat-injured veterans. There were donation jars amid trays of food. Many people tried to include a shot of the governor in their selfies and videos and sent Snapchats of the event.

Mills, of Manchester, who lost his arms and legs to an improvised explosive device on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, was guest bartender last month at the Quarry and was expected to arrive later Monday night after doing a similar bartending stint at the Sea Dog Brewery in South Portland.

Gov. Paul LePage laughs with customer Sam Baker, far right, after delivering two shots of Fireball, a cinnamon-flavored whiskey, during a celebrity bartender fundraiser for the Travis Mills Foundation on Monday night in Hallowell.

Usually LePage’s wife, Ann, champions veterans’ causes, but Monday night LePage did his bit, wearing a black Quarry Tap Room T-shirt. Ann LePage sat at the bar, and her husband occasionally leaned over to try to tell her something or to take an order from those standing next to her. Asked how her husband was doing as guest bartender, she didn’t hesitate: “He’s doing great.”

LePage’s son Paul Jr., a licensed bartender, was behind the bar helping out his dad.


The standing-room-only crowd spilled out into a covered patio area. For a while, some people had to wait to enter the bar until others left.

The noise of the friendly crowd made conversation almost impossible, except at high volume.

“We came to see the governor,” said Robin Bonn of Litchfield, as she and her husband, William, both of whom served in the Navy, sat on a bench under one of the front windows. “We got to see him, but we haven’t said ‘hey’ to him yet.”

“I got to say hi to the first lady,” she added. “She’s such a sweet lady.”

In fact, Ann LePage served the Bonns cheese from a large platter when she took a turn navigating the crowded room to serve hors d’oeuvres to customers.

Chris Vallee, one of the Quarry Tap Room’s owners, tried to direct people into a line so they could order drinks, but it was almost impossible. “Who wants a drink from the governor?” he asked, getting a loud cheer in response. “He’ll pour whatever you want. He’ll take good care of you.”


Vallee also auctioned off several blue commemorative license plates, with bidding starting at $500 and all proceeds benefiting the foundation.

Patrons record the action on their smartphones as Gov. Paul LePage and his son Paul LePage Jr. work behind the bar at Monday’s fundraiser for the Travis Mills Foundation.

Rep. Martin J. Grohman, D-Biddeford, showed off the “Mills” plate he won with a $700 bid. “I’m going to hang it on the wall, or I might keep it on my desk,” said Grohman.

“I got a drink and a handshake,” said Bob Ibeneme of Hallowell, showing off a cellphone photo of the moment. He said he ordered a Captain and Coke, and the other bartenders helped guide LePage to the correct ingredients.

Rick Bowden, 59, of Augusta parked a beer for himself and a Coke for his designated driver atop a wall near the bar entrance. He said he came to the event after hearing about it on the radio.

Bowden said he was a homeless veteran when he came to Maine from Boston six years ago. “Now I have my own apartment.”

One of the Travis Mills Foundation’s efforts is the Maine Chance Lodge & Retreat in Mount Vernon and Rome, which was depicted in a mural on the front window of the Quarry. A portrait of Mills dominated the other window.

Lynn Harvey, the foundation’s executive director, said the retreat for combat-injured veterans and their families is scheduled to welcome its first guests July 2. “We’re just hoping for an early spring,” she said.

Other politicians have tried their hand as guest bartenders at the Quarry recently, including Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Rep. Matthew Pouliot, R-Augusta. Next week’s guest, Vallee said, will be Zachary Fowler of Appleton, who won the History Channel series “Alone” after surviving 87 days in the Patagonia region of South America.


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