A “Lewiston Strong” sign could be seen Sunday morning near the entrance to the parking lot at Schemengees Bar & Grille, site of one of the mass shootings in Lewiston last Wednesday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Lewiston schools were closed to students on Monday, the third straight time classes were canceled in the wake of the mass shootings in the city on Wednesday night.

Instead of giving their usual lessons, teachers will be gathering in those schools, working through the emotions and preparing for an unprecedented week of school ahead.

For Lewiston High Athletic Director Jason Fuller, these days are filled with a mix of emotions.

On Wednesday, Fuller had just wrapped up his postgame duties after a stirring playoff win for the Blue Devils boys’ soccer team. Mohammed Gabow’s header off a corner kick in overtime moved the Blue Devils on to the Class A North semifinals.

Moments after that goal, word spread that there was an active shooter situation across town. Soon, Fuller was helping city and state response teams assemble in the school as they set up a command center to help oversee a manhunt that would last for days. When he arrived home for the night at 2 a.m., the enormity of the situation hit him.

“Thursday was really hard,” said Fuller. “I went through stages of the grieving process like anyone else. I got overwhelmed with support locally, from around New England, and nationally. So many people reached out. It’s great to see the support. It’s humbling.”


There were hard decisions to make. The annual Battle of the Bridge football game between Lewiston and Edward Little was scheduled for Friday night. Obviously that game had to be postponed. It will now be played Wednesday at Lewiston’s Don Roux Field.

It’s almost a cliché now to talk about how sports can help a community back on its feet. How the little moments of normalcy can help a community recover.

Courtney Coffin looks at her candle Sunday evening during the One Lewiston Community Vigil outside the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“I hope it’s a small step in the process of grieving and healing,” said Fuller, “uniting the Twin Cities a little bit,”

There usually isn’t much love lost between the two schools. As a Lewiston High grad, nothing makes me happier than a win over the Red Eddies.

The emotions will be different on Wednesday.

“This was a Lewiston event,” said Fuller. “It happened in our community. But it’s important to remember that a multitude of communities have been affected by this. They all need our support.”


As for the Lewiston-Auburn rivalry?

“We are tied together,” said Fuller. “I can’t stress that enough. When something happens on this side of the river the emotions are just as high on the other side.

“There may be a river between us, but we truly are one area and one community.”

That community came together at a vigil on Sunday night. And will continue to come together in the days and weeks to come.

Mark Rodrigue, owner of Rogue Wear in Lewiston and a former Lewiston High football star, created Lewiston Strong T-shirts with a goal of raising more than $100,000 for victims of the shootings.

Fuller, and so many of us from Lewiston, want the world to know our community for what it is. For the people who make it special. We hope that Lewiston isn’t forever defined by a moment of senseless violence.

As many schools around Maine return to class and begin the new normal, events that bring the community together will help the process.

“Hopefully (Wednesday’s game) will be a healing moment,” said Fuller. “Two cities can come together for a day and show people who we are.”

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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