Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Willey's Behind Willey's Dam Camp

The Willey’s Behind Willey’s Dam Camp
Copyright 2012 by Lori-Ann & Paul Willey

Besides our obvious love of nature, wildlife and the Maine wilderness, there is much about Paul and Lori-Ann that many, if not most of you do not know.  It is not that we hide who we are; however, our Willey’s Dam Camp Facebook page was not created to be about our accomplishments or lack of accomplishments in our lives.  Instead, it is about our experiences living off grid in the Maine wilderness, our struggles, our fun, the nature, and beauty around us as we share our lifestyle and experiences of the wilderness kind.  It is not of the other camp owners in the area.  We share our Dam Camp page openly with those who wish to follow our unique way of living despite Paul being disabled, and Lori-Ann being the worst klutz in America.  However, because we do not splurge our personal lives outward on a public page such as our Dam Camp page, others have taken it upon themselves to invent who they think we are, but through falsenesses and fantasies of their own.  False thoughts are one thing, but to act upon them is quite another.  This bio may or may not be the answer, but we are hoping it is a start. 

First, despite rumors we are NOT “anti’s” (against hunters/hunting) or “greenies” (hippies that live off the land).  We have legally shot three moose and several deer between the two of us, and when the squirrels need thinning out here, we even eat them.  Our camp motto is, “If you shoot it, kill it, if you kill it, eat it”. 

Paul is a 14-year Army Veteran and was medically retired in 1995 with Multiple Sclerosis, he taught advanced schools while in Service.  He was also an Equal Opportunity Representative.  During this time, Lori-Ann was a stay at home mom, taking a few computer language courses at the Ft. Devens Education Center to keep her brain working a bit.  Otherwise, she was a full time mom and wife, except for the last few years of Paul’s military service when she worked as a supervisor at the guest lodge for military and families in transition.  During that time, one of the guests wrote an amazing heartfelt editorial about her that she still holds dear to her heart.  The title was, “Marvelous Maid”.  Later, she took a job as a nighttime stocker at the Commissary, and when at 9 months pregnant her belly became too big to work the aisles, she was made lead stocker and warehouse worker working on her feet sometimes 13 hours a day 11 days straight, but she loved the physical work.

When Paul medically retired, we moved back home to Palmyra, Maine where Lori-Ann was a substitute teacher, then and Ed. Tech working with both learning disabled and behavioral problem students.  She loved working with kids and still misses it to this day.  Later, she became a computer instructor for kids, teachers, and adults of all ages (her youngest student was five, and her oldest student was 88), to include after school enrichment programs as well as Summer Computer Camps.  She had to give up teaching around 2001 because she needed to become a home care attendant to Paul for MS related medical needs that are not made physically apparent.  However, she continued to volunteer at the local schools when she could.

In 2000, and 2001 Paul was Microsoft’s World Virtual Golf Association Champion.  He was in Sports Illustrated, about every golf magazine, other magazines, and countless TV Channels, Local, national, international, and was even part of the news shown on airline flights, and many media types to include magazines written in foreign languages, and even trivia quizzes across the globe!  Many of his interviews were live from all over the world, the furthest away was “Perth Australia…. 14 times zones away.  Do a search for Paul Willey on the Internet, you will find stuff.  From time to time, Paul’s name will pop up in the media.  The last known time was in I was in the Bangor Metro May 2009 or 10 edition and compared to legendary golfer of Maine, Mark Plummer.  During his VGA years, we met many celebrities to include golf legends, Annika Sorenstam, Joe Montana, but it was Russ Francis, who for many years, remained in contact.  However, it is not the people with big names that intrigue us, but people like ourselves.  It is the everyday people, and the down to earth people that grab our attention and captivate us.  Lori-Ann’s personal favorite saying is, “It’s not that I less people, but love nature more.”  Neither Paul nor Lori-Ann cares if you shovel shit for a living.  If we like you, we like you.  It is as simple as that.

Paul also went around to different area schools, to include resident schools for troubled teens, and did inspirational speaking events, where he would give out autographed games, tokens, and golf balls.  Nokomis Regional High in Newport even wanted him to come in on Career Day.  He declined out of respect for the kids futures.

Paul was nominated and named the MS Society’s Father of year in 2001, and both Lori-Ann and he were the moderators for an online chat forum sponsored by the MS Society called, “Kids Konnect”, to help kids with the parents of Multiple Sclerosis.  Paul had to take a back seat the next few years, but in 2004, we became partners in a 10,000 plus square foot Wedding and Convention Center that includes many associated businesses. 

Lori-Ann is also an author, painter, and wildlife/nature photographer.  She was featured in the May 24, 2012 edition of the Penobscot Valley Explorer in an article written by Kimberley Barr Lyons, a well known registered guide and writer in Woodville, Maine.  Until that date, Kimberley was the only reporter we allowed in here to do a story on us.

Read the article “It’s a State of Mind” starting on the front-page and see how much we cry about things out here at camp, the harassment, etc.  You will also see where Lori-Ann sold photos (for no real profit).  If you look, there is no link to where she sells them now, that is because we had to stop because of the unpleasantness by others around camp.  Do you remember when I mentioned false rumors and those who act upon them?

We have had reporters from Maine, other states, as far away from Oregon interested, and Outdoor’s Magazine that Lori-Ann has refused interviews for because she does it more for the enjoyment and loves to share it with other people.  Outdoor magazines monitor our site and some sites and newspapers have permission to use some of her images with their online pages.

For a while, we operated “Willey’s Dam Coffee”, which opened in January 2010.  Unfortunately, we also had to close that business due to our situation around camp.  It definitely was not due to lack of business, especially when several restaurants, cafes, and vendors from around the world were begging us to allow them to sell our coffee at their place of business or at least sell them our recipe.  Again, publicly, we did NOT say why we were closing it.  Lori-Ann also stopped selling her books publicly, and has refused publishers in the last year because of the stressors’ around here.  So now, all our businesses are two hours south of here.  Lori-Ann has donated a few of her children’s books to children with cancer in the past as well, so you can see our hearts are not as hard as some may think.

Our son, Josh, was home schooled by us, and graduated three years ago when he was 16 with a National Honors Society certificate offered to him at the nearest high school that also gave him his high school diploma,  and is now out in Hollywood, CA on his OWN DIME,  because we tried to teach our kids responsibility and respect.  He was on three TV shows just last week, and is booked up pretty solid on several different TV networks.

Our daughter, Alanda, is a stay at home mom, fulltime online college student, as well as a work at home mom while she raises our two beautiful granddaughters, Autumn & Ellie!  Photos of them are splashed all through our Dam Camp Facebook page, as you have probably seen.

Both of our children are very intelligent and gifted individuals on so many different levels that make our heads spin.  We raised them to be respectful, independent, and law-abiding citizens.  We could not be more proud as parents as we are of these two.

Over the years, we refuse a lot of media attention, because we are not attention seekers with nothing better to do than to “spy” on others and sit on Facebook all day, as some of our viewers tend to think.  We wish to live a “simple” and happy life in the Maine wilderness.  With the inventions of modern technology, we can live a modern off grid lifestyle, but that does not mean it is not a whole hell of a lot of work.  Paul continues to be the brains, and Lori-Ann the muscle.  Together, there are no real man/woman roles here.  There cannot be.  It all needs to be done.

We are hoping that this puts a stop to the rumor mill as spread by some who dream up their own thoughts and spread them around like a wild fire causing undue havoc upon us.  You now know more about us than we wished to give, as that is not the purpose of our Willey’s Dam Camp Facebook page, but if this is what it will take to set the stories straight, then so be it.  Only time will tell.  Again, it is Paul and Lori-Ann trying to bring back the peace.  It is time, way past time for others to do that on their end as well.

I will leave you with a quote that I heard a friend say to her daughter about 20 years ago.  Her teenage daughter made a derogatory comment about the girl next door to them.  The mom scolded her daughter with this sentence:

“You are no better than her, and she is no better than you, so cut the shit!”

Thank You,

Paul & Lori-Ann Willey