Memorial pack basket up for grabs at Maine Youth Fish and Game Association banquet

The Maine Youth Fish & Game Association lost a true friend in October when Tom Thornton passed away after a long battle with cancer.

According to Travis Roy, the MYFGA’s vice president, the club will continue to pay tribute to the community leader in the years to come.

Bill Mackowski of Milford will donate one limited edition "Upta Camp" pack basket to the Maine Youth Fish & Game Association each year in honor of his late friend and neighbor, Tom Thornton, who passed away in October. The MYFGA will auction off this basket, the first, will be up for grabs at this year's MYFGA banquet and auction, which will be held Saturday, April 14, at the Old Town Elks Club.

“I can’t do justice explaining what Tom Thornton meant to the community,” Roy said in an email. “He was very involved in seeing that this community was cared for, and here was an outdoorsman with many, many stories to tell about being ‘upta camp.’ He was an active Old Town Rotary [Club] member who was key to many projects that were completed in this community.”

It is fitting, then, that craftsman Bill Mackowski of Milford has come up with a way to make sure people don’t forget about his longtime friend and neighbor.

According to Roy, Mackowski, who makes top-notch creels and pack baskets, has decided — with the Thornton family’s blessing — to donate one limited edition “Upta Camp” pack basket to the club each year. The club, in turn, will auction that basket off during its regular fund-raising events.

The first basket will go up for grabs on Saturday night during the MYFGA’s annual banquet and auction, which will be held at the Old Town Elks Lodge. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 5 and the auction will follow.

Roy said there may be other auction items that carry a higher price tag, but none will be as special as the Mackowski-made pack basket, and he hopes attendees bid accordingly.

“I want to make sure I am clear that the single biggest thing in this auction will be the Thornton pack basket, and we really want to honor the man that it represents,” Roy wrote.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.