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Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 6, 2014
Deer Isle artist wins cruise for volunteer work

Holley Mead and Bruce Bulger in Antigua

Holley Mead and Bruce Bulger of Deer Isle, pictured here in Antigua. The pair went to the Caribbean on a cruise which Mead won from Cabot Creamery for her volunteer work.

Photo courtesy of Holley Mead

by Jessica Brophy

When Holley Mead and Bruce Bulger boarded a plane to San Juan, Puerto Rico in early January, it was two degrees Fahrenheit. When they returned more than a week later, it was two degrees Fahrenheit. But the weather the pair experienced in between was much more pleasant.

Mead and Bulger went to San Juan, where they boarded a cruise ship for a one-week trip around the Caribbean—a cruise Mead won because of her volunteer work in the community.

Mead was nominated by Tess Daniels to Cabot Creamery’s “Cabot Community Celebrity Award,” in part because of her efforts to organize a “meal train” for local artists Jon Imber and Jill Hoy. Meal Train is an online service that helps schedule meals for those in need of help. Mead is also a co-founder, a board member and 12-year executive director of Seamark Community Arts, a nonprofit that offers arts workshops for children and adults throughout the year.

“It was hard to believe when I heard,” said Mead. “I could think of a hundred other people who were equally or more deserving of the trip.”

Cabot Creamery awarded 50 “community celebrity” awards to people around the country for their volunteer work, and all 50 recipients and their guests traveled aboard a cruise that stopped in ports such as Antigua and St. Lucia.

The winners were asked to dine together in the evenings, but otherwise were free to do what they liked during the trip. Mead said she met many interesting people from across the country.

“They were such amazing people,” said Mead. She said they were volunteers and activists involved with many different projects. “People of all different ages, from cities and rural areas, very interesting.” For nine out of 10, it was their first cruise, said Mead.

While the highlight was meeting the other Cabot award recipients, Mead said the food was also great, and the performances on the ship. “And getting to be in the water every day,” she said.

“There were well over 100 nationalities on board,” said Mead. “Our captain was Greek, our chef Indian and our maître d’ was Bosnian.”

Bulger said meeting all of the “distinctive” people was the highlight for him. “If the world had 10 times that attitude, it would be wonderful. These are humanitarians, they did it for other living beings.”

Mead said she and Bulger felt “well taken care of” and considered the trip a treat.

“Everyone we talked to all said, ‘Well I know why you were chosen, but I don’t know what I’m doing here,’” said Mead.