Littlefield wins 6 Who Care award

By Lisa Williams Ackley
Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Local contractor Brad Littlefield is one of a group of six outstanding community volunteers who will be the

SITTING ON THE ROCK THAT HOLDS A PLAQUE — dedicating the field at the Fryeburg Recreation Community Complex to him is Brad Littlefield, who will be honored tomorrow night with a 6 Who Care Award in Portland. The plaque commemorates all the work Littlefield has done for the Fryeburg Recreation Department and in building its Field of Dreams complex off Route 302. (Ackley Photo)

honored guests tomorrow evening in Portland at the 11th Annual 6 Who Care Awards hosted by Cindy Williams and Pat Callaghan of WCSH 6.

Like the others who have been tapped for this special award that honors exceptional men and women from throughout Maine who truly make a difference in the lives of others, Littlefield gets to select a non-profit organization — in his case the Fryeburg Recreation Department — to which TD Charitable Foundation will make a $1,000 grant on his behalf.

Individual profiles of the 6 Who Care Award winners will air on WCSH Newscenter 6 at 5 p.m. starting on Monday, Oct. 18, and a 60-minute prime time special of the 6 Who Care Awards program will be televised on WCSH 6 on Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.

As the background biographical information for the 6 Who Care Award he will receive Oct. 15 states: “Bradford A. Littlefield has been involved with Fryeburg youth sports programs in leadership roles, since 1984. An architect of the 1996 purchase for the Fryeburg Recreation Complex, he is now president of the Capital Campaign to build a Community Center to provide indoor space, as well. Brad is a coach, referee and umpire, a builder, and a fundraiser. Brad heads up the annual Fryeburg Recreation Golf Tournament (now in its 19th year) and the ‘car raffle’ at the Fryeburg Fair. A professional builder, Brad often does much of the construction work of fencing, dugouts, basketball and volleyball courts, playground, horseshoe pits and fitness trail with his own hands. And if it’s not him alone, he skillfully enlists volunteers to join his cause to get the work done.”

Brad Littlefield is pleased to be the recipient of a 6 Who Care Award, yet like the other five designees, he said he’s not sure he belongs in the company of the other outstanding award winners.

“It’s, obviously, a tremendous honor,” Brad said, of being chosen as a 6 Who Care Award winner. “After I met the other five recipients at a luncheon recently, they all told their story, and I believe we all felt the same — ‘I certainly don’t feel like I belong in this group’ — because, like me, they don’t look at themselves as anyone special — they’re just doing something they feel strongly about. They’re tremendous people. We went right around the room, and every single person more or less said it. You just don’t think you belong in such a special group.”

There are three very special people in his life that Brad said he wanted to thank, in particular. He said he will be singling out his parents and his wife, when he gives his thank you remarks at Friday evening’s gala ceremony.

“I don’t think I’ve ever thanked my parents, Azel and Kay Littlefield, and my wife, Tina, for all their support during the construction of this recreation complex facility,” said Brad.

The Fryeburg Recreation Complex has three full-sized Little League/softball fields, two full-sized football/soccer/field hockey/lacrosse fields, two basketball courts, four horseshoe pits, an outdoor volleyball court, a three-quarter mile walking track around the perimeter, three small maintenance buildings and a snack shack.

Brad had nothing but high praise for the dedication and tireless efforts of Jim Osgood Sr. for the outstanding grooming and fertilizing of the recreation complex’s athletic fields.

“He has quietly taken this whole property under his wing,” Brad said of 72-year-old Osgood Sr. “Jim has done it, since Day One, without any acclaim. It’s a tremendous amount of work, to keep this looking like it is. It’s spectacular. We couldn’t be any luckier.”

Accompanying Brad and his wife, Tina, at the 6 Who Care Awards dinner will be Mr. and Mrs. Jim Osgood Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Dick Cote and Mr. and Mrs. Steve Cote. Dick Cote served for 18 years, as recreation director for the town of Fryeburg.

Brad gets emotional, when speaking of Dick Cote’s role in all of the efforts by the Fryeburg Recreation Department to finally have its own recreation complex and facility.

“Dick would say, from the start, ‘We’ve got to make our own bed and prove ourselves,’” said Brad. “And, after 18 years, we sure did! The best quote I’ve ever heard from Dick, and it’s probably the hardest one to hear,” said Brad, emotion welling up in his voice. “Dick said, ‘It’s been quite a run, hasn’t it?’ It sure has,” said Brad, “and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without Dick. He is the single best motivator of people that I’ve ever met!”

Brad said he also wanted to thank the legions of volunteer coaches and officials who have donated their time, over the years.

Kicking off the Capital Campaign

Brad Littlefield said the timing of the 6 Who Care Award couldn’t be better, as it comes just when the Fryeburg Recreation Department is kicking off its Capital Campaign to raise $1 million to build the Fryeburg Community Center, a 120-foot by 120-foot steel building, at the Field of Dreams complex.

“We’re kicking off the Capital Campaign, right now,” Brad said, Tuesday afternoon. “So, it’s good timing! We’re going to go public, and we will focus on obtaining larger grants from individuals, corporations and foundations. We’re hoping (the 6 Who Care Award distinction) will open the door for us to some of Portland’s charitable foundations.”

“The 6 Who Care Award is a great opportunity, and hopefully, it will catapult us to our goal of one million dollars,” said Brad. “We have fundraised $100,000 already, and in the last year, we set up the separate Capital Campaign. “This is going to give us a facility to be able to do everything we want to do. We’re going to set the Fryeburg Community Center up so there will be room for expansion in the future, that’s for sure!”

Fryeburg Community Center

Nothing excites Brad more than when he’s working on a project involving the Fryeburg Recreation Complex — and he is definitely pumped up about the plans for the future Fryeburg Community Center.

“The Fryeburg Community Center will be a 120-feet by 120-feet insulated steel building with a steel roof and decorative stone around it, and it will have a full-sized, multipurpose court for basketball and indoor field hockey,” said Brad. “It will also have a 40-foot by 62-foot Senior Center, as a separate part of the building. Inside the Senior Center there will be a Tech Room for seniors to learn about computers and take classes or just surf the Internet. The function room will be big enough for exercise classes for seniors that we’ll be starting, and for bridge or cribbage or anything else they’d like to do.”

The Fryeburg Recreation Department’s headquarters, for the past 22 years, has been located downstairs at the American Legion Hall building on Bradley Street. That’s where current Recreation Director Rick Buzzell operates from, as did longtime Rec Director Dick Cote, before him. So, Brad is eagerly anticipating having a new indoor facility at the Field of Dreams.

“You see, we’ve never had a facility,” said Brad. “We’ve been in the basement of the Legion Hall, since 1988. We will have a Rec Director’s office, handicapped accessible bathrooms, a full-sized brand new kitchen, locker rooms and shower facilities. It will be available to the public for weddings and corporate functions.”

Teen Center is in the plans, too

“One quarter of the new Fryeburg Community Center will have a 60-foot by 40-foot second floor area that will be the Teen Center,” Brad said, with great pride. “That will be for the kids. Right now, we offer sports of all kinds for kids to do or that they could dream of, but we don’t have anything — a safe harbor, so to speak — where a kid who is not an athlete can come and socialize and interact after school — and this Teen Center will do that for us. There will be a study area, where teens will be able to study or read in quiet. It will be supervised, and there will be activities for them to do.”

“The Teen Center is the same as the Senior Center,” stated Brad. “We have wanted to offer certain activities in the past, but if you don’t have a facility in which to do stuff, you just can’t do it!”

How it all began

Humble as he is, Littlefield does admit, though, to being the catalyst for the Field of Dreams Complex project that he first thought of building, nearly 20 years ago.

“I guess it all started when I was on vacation in Belfast, Maine, on the coast, around 1990,” said Brad. “It was a rainy, cold, foggy day, and we went out for a ride. We came to a stop sign, and directly across from it there was this beautiful, small recreation complex with a lake behind it, in Unity. The sun came out, and I said, ‘Where the heck are we?’ They had two soccer fields, one baseball field, a small maintenance building and snack shack, and I thought, ‘Why can’t we have something like that in Fryeburg?’”

Most of the work at Fryeburg Field of Dreams Recreation Complex has been donated, said Brad. One of the more recent projects is the large, open outdoor pavilion built by members of the Rotary Club of the Fryeburg Area.

“It’s beautiful, and it’s worked out great,” said Brad. “The kids can stay dry now, in a rainstorm!”

Fryeburg Rec’s philosophy

Brad said the new Fryeburg Community Center will be available for use by Fryeburg residents and people from the surrounding area, as well.

Asked if fees are charged for recreation activities and use of the complex, Brad replied, “We haven’t charged anyone, to date. If they want to make a donation, they can. I think that’s why Channel 6 looked so kindly upon us. Some of the other recipients asked me, ‘Why did you decide to do that (not charge fees of any kind), when parents would be more than happy to pay?’ Well, my stickler is, as soon as you start charging, there’s going to be some child or some family who can’t afford to pay, and they’re not going to show up, and you’re never going to know about it!   You’re taking the risk of losing some kids that won’t have the same opportunities as other ones.”

That basic philosophy of “everyone should be included” is what makes Brad Littlefield and his fellow Fryeburg Recreation Committee members really stand out!

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