Fishermen band together to support friend
Spruce Head — Peter Ames has been working on the water since he was 12. This season, at 55, he is unable to finish fishing his gear following a cancer diagnosis Aug. 17.
Ames underwent surgery to have a brain tumor removed Aug. 21. The following Sunday — and the last Sunday lobstermen are required to take off before Sept. 1 — Spruce Head fishermen gathered to remove Ames' gear from the water. Eight boats and 50 people were prepared for early morning work to help their friend and fellow lobsterman.
Jimmy Tripp and Doug McLennan, good friends of Ames, visited him in the hospital and asked what was on his mind. Ames replied that he wanted his traps home. On the ride home, Tripp called Maine Marine Patrol and received permission to haul out Ames' traps and gear the following Sunday.
Crews assembled on boats, at Atwood's wharf and the Spruce Head Fisherman's Co-op, and at the Ames home to transfer and stack traps for winter storage. Laura McLennan, who participated in the event, said everybody was home before noon and added it was a heartwarming gesture, especially since having his traps home was one less thing for Ames to be concerned with.
When asked if the traps were stacked straight, Debby Ames, Peter's wife, said "Yes," with a laugh.
"We are awestruck by our friends and community — it's a small miracle," she said.
Ames is now recuperating at home and is feeling better following his surgery at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Debby said the pathology report has not come back yet, so the couple is unsure what type of cancer they are fighting. She added her husband will most likely undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
"You don't know who your friends are until something happens and everybody pulls together — it's just amazing," she said.
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at JLaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.