Thursday morning, I woke up to the shocking news that one of my favorite businesses burned to the ground overnight.
Captain Nemos was a restaurant and bar in Bass Harbor. Run by the Cousin’s family who relocated here from Alaska and opened this place, it was an eclectic building that looked like a lighthouse and, from one of the daughters, the whole place was “build from stuff we found at the dump”.
Anyone who has ever been here has commented on the mismatched chairs, children’s artwork on the walls, and the feeling like you’re hanging out in your friend’s living room much more than a seedy bar. Ever since discovering it for myself in 2011, I have loved coming here with local and visiting friends.
Here are several bleh pictures I took with my iPhone in case you too would like to experience this place virtually:
Now Nemos could have just coasted along as a dive bar if they wanted I’m sure. But it didn’t. They regularly held fun and new events, like ugly sweater and toga parties, and created an outdoor seating area with a small bonfire area for chillier nights. They were trying new things while being true to who they are, something all businesses should try to do.
The family lived on the property too, meaning that the fire also took their primary residence.
This is all tragic but since then, people have stepped up to help. And this sense of community is really the reason I live here.
In less than 12 hours, each of the following events happened:
A website, with needed items, was established.
The vehicle in this case a Facebook group. Someone created a document in this group where people could add items and sign up to donate items. If you are more technical, you can set up a basic website with WordPress.com or Blogger.com. (The one thing with Facebook is it can get chaotic so having the admin of the group be the coordinator might make the most sense!)
The great thing about this is everyone has stuff lying around but having an exact person who needs it can be really motivating to go through your stuff with a more close eye. Also in the days ahead in particular, having things like pots and pans and towels is going to help in the immediate aftermath.
An online fundraising campaign, to raise capital, was created.
In this case, a GoFundMe page was made to raise money and collect messages/well wishes.
Money is always needed but, until insurance is processed and losses are calculated, it can be hard to tell where to put the cash. So having a short term campaign to raise funds (and having that take a few weeks or months) is actually alright.
A real life event, for more immediate cash, has started to be planned.
Through the Facebook group, a hall has been rented, a local band has offered to play, and local businesses have offered items for an auction. This live event will allow more ‘offline’ people to participate in the effort and create more community awareness about the event. It’ll also give the family support since they’ll be able to see how much people care about them at the event.
And if your neighbor experiences a tragedy, you can do one (or all) of these things too. Really a combination of online and offline events, a combination of cash and item donations, and a collection of support (letters, emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, visits) will help people cope.
Because we’ll all have our turn needing help, which makes giving when we can even more important.
Proud to have been to Nemos.
Proud to be in a community that supports local families and businesses.
Proud that in this tragedy, we can all have some hope, love, and support for the Cousin family.