A Round of Applause for Terry Orr

We’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Terry Orr for the many years he’s volunteered & cut struts with WindowDressers. This is his last year volunteering with WindowDressers and while we are deeply sad to see him go we wanted to recognize and celebrate his generosity of time and talent to so many build teams over the years. Terry made his final appearance with WindowDressers at the Portland Community Build on February 6th at the Maine Irish Heritage Center. Terry helped cut some of the final struts of the season in Portland and we are immensely grateful for the years that he has devoted and volunteered with WindowDressers.

We wanted to share a few stories from Community Builds he’s volunteered with over the years. To share the story of Terry’s time with WindowDressers as told by those he’s helped along the way:

“I first met Terry at the ME MCC Raymond build in 2017. I was helping out at the build and had brought my own chop saw and vacuum setup and was off in a side room working by myself.  All of a sudden there was this gentleman standing next to me watching intently what I was doing. I shut off the saw and asked if I could help him with anything. He said ‘I’m here to volunteer and the lady out front said to come back here and see you and you’d give me something to do’. He said  ‘I’d prefer a task where I can work by myself.’ I asked him if he had ever used a saw like the one I was using and did he have a sense of what I was doing cutting struts? He said he thought he could handle that. I gave him a few pointers and he stepped in and started cutting struts like he had been doing it for years.”

“Thus began the long and generous relationship between Terry Orr and WindowDressers. Over the summer he bought a brand new shop vacuum and chop saw and designed a custom collapsible stand that would travel well in his small truck.  His willingness to volunteer to cut struts, for builds mostly in southern Maine, would span the next five years (WD sat out 2020 due to covid). Terry was known to drift back in the task area after finishing up all the struts and ask if he could help out at some other station that needed a good pair of hands.”

“Terry also took the quirky strut cutting jig we had started out with and completely redesigned it to be simpler and easier to use. I dubbed it the “Orr Strut Cutting Jig”. I remember while volunteering at the Encore Wells Reserve build, in January of this year, he looked at me at the end of all the strut cutting and said ‘Cliff, this might be my last year. This old body may not be able to keep doing this much longer.’ Standing at the saw for many hours and traveling to many other builds was starting to take its toll.”

“His last strut cutting gig this season was at the Wells build in late November. He had already been to Gorham, Bath, Conway, and Cumberland before coming to Wells.  When he was done I asked if he would be taking his gear with him or coming back later to pack it up.  He said it was neither, as he was retiring from cutting struts and would be donating his custom made chop saw setup to WindowDressers. I asked if he was sure he wanted to do that and he said ‘I know it will be in good hands and will do a good job for all the builds that might want to use it.’”

Terry’s Parade of Builds: Raymond, Lewiston, Rockland, South Portland, Fryeburg/Conway(3), Brunswick(2), Windham, Portland(3), Falmouth, Gorham, Bath, Cumberland, Wells(3).

Cliff Babkirk, Local Coordinator for Wells, ME

“Terry has helped cut struts during our set up day for all 3 of our community builds. We are so appreciative of the energy that went into creating his cutting system and his willingness to travel significant distances to help out. Besides his devotion to [WindowDressers], the thing that stands out to me about him is the importance of lunch! The first time I reached out to him about helping out, he rated the builds he helped out at the prior year based on what they provided their volunteers. Working with volunteers regularly as part of my job, I am acutely aware that it is not only the appreciation of their help but the little perks that keep them coming back. We made sure to have lunch available for him every year. He would bring his own salt shaker, to make sure it was to his liking!”

Nora Dufilho, Local Coordinator for Conway, NH