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Wild Cow Creamery to celebrate the troops with free ice cream

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Sarah Wilder scoops her smallbatch handmade ice cream to a customer along the Bangor Waterfront on Friday, July 28, 2017. The company will be giving away ice cream to active military personnel and veterans on Friday, Aug. 4 Sarah Wilder scoops her smallbatch handmade ice cream to a customer along the Bangor Waterfront on Friday, July 28, 2017. The company will be giving away ice cream to active military personnel and veterans on Friday, Aug. 4 (edge photo by Kevin Bennett)

Local business offers “Joan Gaudet’s Military Appreciation Day” on Aug. 4

BANGOR/BELFAST - For a third year, Wild Cow Creamery of Bangor and Belfast will honor veterans and active military personnel with free ice cream on Friday, Aug. 4, as part of something they call “Joan Gaudet’s Military Appreciation Day.”

The event will be held in memory of longtime Maine Troop Greeter Joan Gaudet, who passed away in October of 2014.

For many years, Joan traveled from her home in Old Town to Bangor International Airport, regardless of weather or time of day or night, to greet arriving or departing soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, along with the rest of the Maine Troop Greeters.

Joan - also known as “Mama G” - offered hugs, handshakes and smiles to hundreds of thousands of military personnel heading to Iraq and Afghanistan or returning home during her time as a member of the Maine Troop Greeters.

In 2009, Mama G. became a reluctant movie star when she appeared in the documentary “The Way We Get By,” directed by her son Aron Gaudet and produced by her daughter-in-law Gita Pullapilly.

Primarily shot in the greater Bangor area (including Old Town), “The Way We Get By” tells the story of the Maine Troop Greeters by spotlighting the lives of Joan Gaudet and fellow troop greeters Bill Knight and Jerry Mundy.

The film’s world premiere took place at the South By Southwest Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for best documentary film; it also wound up with nine other national and international film festival awards.

The troop-greeting trio traveled around the nation to attend festival screenings with the filmmakers. During AARP’s ninth annual Movies For Grown-ups Awards, where the movie won the Best Picture award, Joan Gaudet met actor Morgan Freeman and had her picture taken with him.

Following the whirlwind of activity surrounding the movie, Joan Gaudet continued greeting troops at Bangor International Airport while also enjoying a return to a quieter life in Old Town.

One of Joan’s favorite summer activities was to travel to the Bangor Waterfront with her family for a raspberry swirl ice cream from Wild Cow Creamery. Before long, that flavor received a new name - Mama Joan’s Raspberry Swirl.

“It was certainly her favorite flavor,” says Sarah Wilder of Wild Cow Creamery. “She was a very special lady and we renamed that flavor in her honor.”

All active and veteran military personnel will receive a free ice cream on Aug. 4 from noon to 8 p.m. at Wild Cow Creamery located on the Bangor Waterfront and from noon to 9 p.m. on the Belfast Waterfront, located along the Belfast Harbor Walk. A valid military ID is required.

2017 marks Wild Cow Creamery’s fifth season of selling homemade premium ice cream in Bangor and Belfast.

“We use all natural ingredients,” Wilder says. “In our ice cream, we use milk and cream that have no additives. Some ice cream manufacturers add things like xantham gum or carrageenan, which make their ice cream seem creamy. Ours is naturally creamy with no artificial ingredients. It really makes a difference in the product. If you put good in, you get good out.”

According to Joan Gaudet’s daughter-in-law Kelly Gaudet, “Mama G.” would be very happy to know that one of her favorite activities will continue to honor the troops, even in her absence.

“I think Mama G. would be tickled pink about this because it’s for the troops,” Gaudet told me. “She was a very modest and humble lady. She would probably say ‘You don’t need to put my name on it.’ That’s the way she was. She did things because it was the right thing to do, not because she was looking for a pat on the back.” 

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