Guilford residents prep for President Trump's visit to town Friday

(Shealah Craighead / White House, License Link)
(Shealah Craighead / White House, License Link)(KWQC)
Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 4:21 PM EDT
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Preparations are underway in Guilford for President Trump’s arrival Friday.

He plans to visit Puritan Medical Products, one of only two companies worldwide making coronavirus testing swabs.

Many in the community are happy a crucial company in town is getting national attention. ​

“In my lifetime, I never would have expected this," said local business owner, Paul Zimmerman.

“To have the President of the United States come to Guilford - I think it is marvelous," said Senator Paul Davis (R) of Piscataquis.

Main Street in Guilford was buzzing Thursday as many are in town prepping for President Trump’s visit to Puritan Medical Products.

Whitey and Nancy White drove in from Atkinson, about 15 miles away from Guilford, to see where they may watch the President make his arrival in town Friday.

The Whites, a Gold Star Family, say they’re honored to have him in town.

“We were saying there probably hasn’t been a president in the woods of Maine since Teddy Roosevelt came to moose hunt in Baxter State Park. So, it's quite a thrill," said Nancy White.

Just down the road from Puritan Medical Products sits the Red Maple Inn. Paul Zimmerman co-owns the restaurant and motel. He has five rooms available but says he has been turning down hundreds of requests to stay at the motel due to the president's visit.

“Not knowing who might show up, I’d rather keep my hotel rooms empty. They’ve been empty for two months, so one more day is not going to make or break me," explained Zimmerman.

Also, Friday is Piscatquis Community High School’s drive-in style graduation that had to be pushed back an hour. 39 graduates will be receiving their diplomas, including Macee Pearl, this year’s salutatorian.

She says it has been hectic in town and around the school these last few days as the Secret Service and local law enforcement prep for the visit. Even though their graduation plans were altered, Macee says she’s proud of the way her class and school has handled the situation.

“It’s awesome that our school has really been able to come together and create an event that works with everyone," said Pearl.

The head of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services says a public health response is in place for President Trump's visit.

The work being done by Puritan Medical Products was put in the spotlight in April by President Trump.

The company says that since they’ve increased production, their employees are working 10-hour shifts, 7 days a week.

“A lot of people made a lot of sacrifices that people in the local community just don’t understand because they don’t see it," said Guilford resident, Jeff Pearl. "So, I hope they take the time and let them take the recognition they deserve from the president and understand that they’re on the front lines of keeping us all safe.”

This will be Trump's first visit to Maine since taking office.

The head of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services says a public health response is in place for President Trump's visit.

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew says everyone should be following the U.S. CDC guidelines, social distancing and wearing masks.

"As with any presidential visit there are protocols that are followed about the contact between the traveling crew and the people here on the ground in the state of Maine. That's handled with great care and great precision for both the protection of the residents here in the state as well as the team that's coming to visit," said Commissioner Lambrew at Thursday's CDC briefing.

Large crowds are planning to gather to either greet the president or to protest.

Governor Mills' executive order currently allows for gatherings of 50 or less.

We asked the Commissioner if plans were in place for crowd control and she deferred to the Department of Public Safety.

The ACLU of Maine Thursday, called on top law enforcement officials in Piscataquis County to protect the First Amendment rights of protesters.