LEWISTON — Hundreds of jack-o’-lanterns lined a stretch of Mollison Way in front of Just-In-Time Recreation on Sunday afternoon following a pumpkin-carving event to honor Thomas Conrad, one of the victims of the Oct. 25 mass shootings in Lewiston.

In the days before his death, Conrad, 34, had planned a small pumpkin-carving event at the bowling alley for his 9-year-old daughter, Caroline.

Conrad’s friend Adam Jordan kicked the event into motion recently when another friend, along with the owners and employees of Just-In-Time, mentioned Conrad’s original plans.

“Let’s make it happen,” Jordan recalled saying. “It started as a little Facebook post and then, next thing I know, I’ve got people from everywhere reaching out to me.”

Though the Just-In-Time Community Pumpkin Tribute was planned for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, people began arriving at about 1 p.m., Jordan said. He and the event’s dozens of volunteers began setting up at about 10:30 a.m., with many volunteers hollowing out pumpkins so children could grab them and start carving. Several local businesses and farms donated pumpkins, supplies and resources for the event, Jordan said.

Bates College in Lewiston donated cookies, brownies and water, and representatives of the American Red Cross handed out blankets, water and stuffed animals, while also providing counseling for some of those affected by the shootings.


Caleb Burgess, another bowler and friend of Thomas Conrad, and Jordan rattled off nearly a dozen names or families and several businesses but quickly lost track of the many who showed up with various displays of support.

Burgess and Jordan said many volunteers and all of the businesses and farms that donated did not want their names shared because they wanted the focus of the event to be on Caroline, as Conrad had intended, and on the support of the bowling community.

“Nobody’s doing this for any kind of attention,” Burgess said, pointing to Caroline. “This is 100% for those girls sitting on the grass over there.”

Added Jordan: “Once you start bowling in a league, you make one friend, then that turns into five friends, which turns into 20 friends. We all stepped up. We knew just about everyone who was in there who was affected by this. I’ve known some of them for over 20 years now. It’s a very big thing to show our community how we come together in tragedy to be here for each another.”

Michelle Dumais said her children, who are 17 and 19, are part of the local bowling community, and it means much to them to support Thomas Conrad and his daughter.

“Just being part of the bowling community with my kids for umpteen years, I know all these kids, all the workers here,” Dumais said. “When they need help, you know, you dig in. The kids lost bowling mentors. They know some who have been hurt. They lost a fellow bowler. It hits really close, but this is some healing, some hope to brighten a little girl’s heart.”


Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline said he was not surprised many people turned out for Sunday’s pumpkin-carving event at Just-In-Time Recreation.

“I think this display shows how much community support is in Lewiston and how much our residents love each other,” Sheline said. “The amount of support Lewiston has received from around the state, around New England, around the country and really around the world is pretty amazing. It’s certainly heartening and it gives us hope.”

Burgess and Jordan said the goal is to light a candle in every pumpkin along Mollison Way. Conrad would have liked seeing that.

The pumpkins should be on display for about a week, after which a local landscaping company has said it will remove them at no cost.

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