Ben Paradis of Fort Kent has been involved in skiing for over 40 years. He was the cross country coach at the high school for 24 years and since his retirement has stayed on as a volunteer and an Assistant Coach. Because of his work with young people Paradis has been named a Maine Sports Legend and will be honored on Sunday in Waterville.
It was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t really expect that I really want to thank the people in the Maine Sports Legends for their support. It’s an honor for me and my family, but especially for the program we have here in Fort Kent.
The wax room at Lonesome Pine is a shrine to the teams success with pictures of past champions on the wall. Paradis said he has used a very simple philosophy during his years of coaching
” What we do is try to help out young athletes set goals and then have them plan how they are going to achieve their goals. That has worked out well over the years. It is great being a coach here because we got so much support from the community.”
Paradis retired as head cross country coach in 2004, but he has stayed involved. During his tenure Fort Kent won 6 State Title and since retiring in 2004 he has stayed involved as an Assistant and Volunteer coach and the Warriors have a State Crown every year since 2007
” Keeps me going. I enjoy coaching them. I am almost 70 now, but I try to do the same type of routine and practice as the kids. Help them out and give them encouragement and that type of thing.”
Paradis also helped start the Green Bean Ski Club. That is a booster club that has helped raise money and has done so much more
” It’s still going strong and they are invaluable. They are volunteers “par excellence”. They help out at ski meets they help out planning trips. It involves a lot of work and planning.”
Paradis who is also a member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame says that keeping in touch with former students and athletes is his biggest reward.
“I get to see them as professionals and successful in life. That brings me more honor then just getting inducted into a Hall of Fame.”
Also being honored at Sunday’s ceremony are Murray Putnam and Kathy Mazzuchelli. Caribou Native Mike Thurston will also be honored and Washburn Native Carroll Conley Sr. will be honored posthumously
The County’s two Maine Sports Legends Scholarship winners will also be recognized
Carla Halvorson of Easton and Nick Lunn of Hodgdon will be honored during the ceremony.