The baseball field at Lewiston High School is bustling Sunday with football drills during Lewiston-Auburn Community Day at the Franklin Pasture Athletic Complex. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Representatives of the New England Patriots and New England Revolution led sports clinics Sunday for local young athletes during Lewiston-Auburn Community Day at the Franklin Pasture Athletic Complex at Lewiston High School.

The clinics drew two Patriots notables: retired cornerback Ronnie Lippett of 1985 Super Bowl fame, and former Coach Rick Buffington, who led the football clinics.

The New England Patriots Foundation presented Lewiston and Auburn with the Maine flag that the team displayed when running through the tunnel during its first home game after the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston.

Through its Kraft Family Foundation, the family that owns the Patriots and the Revolution presented the One Lewiston Resiliency Fund with a $10,000 donation.

Crowds gathered to hear several speakers kick off the event, before attendees rushed to the many activities and food trucks between Don Roux Field and Franklin Pasture.

Among the speakers: Jennifer Farron, chief marketing officer for Kraft Sports and Entertainment; Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline; Auburn Mayor Jeffrey Harmon; and Lewiston Public Schools Superintendent Jake Langlais.


Langlais said events such as Lewiston-Auburn Community Day can help people heal after tragedies, including the mass shooting in which 18 were killed and 13 injured, but they also remind us to give back when we can.

Area youth take part in a football drill Sunday during Lewiston-Auburn Community Day at the Franklin Pasture Athletic Complex at Lewiston High School in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“Respect the game, take care of the community and have fun,” Langlais said as the clinics wrapped up. “That component is so important. No matter where you end up in life, you’ll have challenges, you’ll have successes, but please always remember to give back.”

The foundations also brought some of the North Attleboro High School Blue Bombardiers to help with the clinics. The experience provided Lewiston and Auburn’s young athletes with learning and training opportunities, and allowed high school athletes to connect with others, according to Donna Spigarolo, community relations director for the Patriots.

Spigarolo said representatives of the foundation decided to come to Lewiston-Auburn for the same reasons that took them to Newtown, Connecticut, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting Dec. 14, 2012.

“Immediately after Lewiston’s tragedy, we went to the Kraft family with this idea and they were 100% behind it as was everyone in the organization,” Spigarolo said. “Now, we’re enjoying the moment, seeing the smiles all over these kids’ faces.”

Hunter Bruckner, community relations coordinator for the New England Patriots Foundation, said the foundations have been in touch with the Twin Cities since before January, when Patriots defensive lineman Lawrence Guy and the New England Patriots Foundation hosted the families of those who died in the mass shooting. They began planning in early March for Lewiston-Auburn Community Day, he said.


Da’Lani Clarke jumps off the National Guard obstacle course Sunday during Lewiston-Auburn Community Day at the Franklin Pasture Athletic Complex at Lewiston High School. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Bruckner said the foundations were particularly proud of being able to present the Maine flag, which every member of the 2023 Patriots team signed in the team’s locker room at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, during the Nov. 5, 2023, game against the Washington Commanders. The Patriots were trying to find the right time to present the flag, Bruckner said, and Lewiston-Auburn Community Day stood out as the perfect opportunity.

“We wanted to do this event to give back to the community and provide them with a fun, positive experience today,” Bruckner said. “It’s been great and we’re glad to be here.”

Courtney Amergian said her third grade son, Lucas Pooler, signed up for the football clinic two days ago after she saw a post about it on the Lewiston Recreation Facebook page.

“There are lots of great activities for the community to do,” Amergian said. “It’s just a really cool event that’s bringing everyone together.”

Logan Brianza and Thomas Desjardins, both 8 years old, said they enjoyed the clinic, particularly the ladder footwork drills Buffington led. Daphne and Callie Bailey, 8 and 10, respectively, said their soccer clinic was a lot of fun. Callie said she enjoyed the footwork and trick drills.

“I learned how to do the scissors and got to practice more on my passing backwards,” Daphne said. “I also got to do races with the soccer balls, and it was really fun.”


Lucy Allard gives Pat Patriot, the mascot for the New England Patriots, a fist bump Sunday during Lewiston-Auburn Community Day at the Franklin Pasture Athletic Complex at Lewiston High School. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Thomas Desjardins’ mother, Stacey, said she loved seeing the kids jumping into their respective sports, learning and having a great time.

“I think I enjoyed watching just as much as they did participating,” Stacey Desjardins said.

Elliot Blais, 13, said he enjoyed the experience and hoped the foundations will continue bringing such opportunities to more communities.

“It was really fun learning from older NFL players and coaches,” Blais said. “I learned a lot about teamwork.”

Angelynne Amores, spokesperson for the city of Lewiston, said it was exciting to watch hundreds of children at the clinics, and fascinating to see families and neighbors watching the activities.

“People heal differently and people respond differently,” she said, “so the opportunity to provide activities like this so our families and kids can feel better is amazing.”

Comments are not available on this story.