LEWISTON — Glenn Atkins, motivational speaker and fitness instructor, has set out to make the community a better place after the Oct. 25 shooting through creativity and kindness. 

“After the tragic shootings in Lewiston, I kept seeing the slogan, Lewiston Strong,” said Atkins. “Like Boston Strong, it galvanized a community and helped bring them, and us, closer. I felt the Lewiston connection, but knew there had to be a more powerful message within the two words.”

Atkins is an advocate of promoting goodwill and random acts of kindness. He said he finds happiness in making people smile and believes that small acts of kindness can change the world, one action at a time.

He spent a long time mulling ideas to invoke inspiration and kindness. Atkins even wrote a song called “Without a proper Good-Bye” shortly after the shooting.

Atkins said that a new idea came to him in a dream – a poster.

Glenn Atkins stands in the entrance Thursday afternoon where he hung his poster at Marco’s restaurant in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“I woke up one night and bolted out of bed. Wrote down a phrase that went with the words and felt this was something that would help keep the message relevant,” he said. “We had the spotlight on us and were featured in the national media for weeks, and people seemed to come together. Now things seem back to normal for those not directly affected by the tragedy, and we can’t just get back to the way things used to be.”


The poster is an acrostic poem using “Lewiston Strong” to spread an inspirational message of kindness and respect for everyone. Atkins said, “It’s up to us to just be more kind and compassionate to everyone, and not just after a tragedy. It needs to be a daily thing.”

After hanging his first poster with his message Thursday afternoon in the window at Marco’s restaurant in Lewiston, Atkins set out to find others willing to join in his vision of kindness.

“This was a rude awakening that nothing in life is guaranteed. You can’t take things for granted as you never know what’s in store for you. None of those people killed were expecting it to be their last day on earth,” said Atkins. “None of their families ever considered that they would never see them again. This just can’t be swept under the rug and we all need to be more vigilant, and compassionate, and change our mindset and attitude.”

“Looking out for your neighbor, compromising, sacrificing for others, and coming together to help each other and those less fortunate is what we need to get back to. It took a terrible tragedy in our community to bring us together. It’s up to each one of us to not forget how we felt in the days following and keep our hearts full,” said Atkins.

For more information on how to get a poster, reach Atkins at 207-212-7399, runforme252@gmail.com, or connect with him on Facebook.

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