WATERVILLE – When Harold and Felicia Murray moved to Waterville with their three toddlers in May, it was a rough move for son Spencer.

Willow, 1, has a bladder and kidney disorder, and the Murrays moved to Waterville to be closer to her doctor, who’s in Oakland, and the specialist who comes up from Boston to Portland to treat her regularly.

Harold Murray said his son, who’s 4, was homesick for Old Town and withdrew, stopped playing with his two sisters, Willow and Airies, 2, and eventually stopped talking.

“For two weeks this boy was going through hell,” Murray said. “He just shut down.”

But when a crew from Ranger Contracting, of Winslow, began work for Summit Natural Gas in front of the family’s Boutelle Street home, something funny happened. Spencer began to open up.

Soon he was setting up a chair and interacting with the crew.

“He came out of his shell. He’s talking again,” Murray said.

Mike Nelson, of Ranger Contracting, said Friday that the crew was putting in pipe, and when they first saw Spencer and how interested he was in what they were doing, they started talking to him. Now, “every time we’re out here, he’s got to track us down.”

When Ranger Contracting owner Bill Sanborn caught wind of the new member of his crew, he gave him a hard hat, Nelson said. Summit Natural Gas even put a post about Spencer on the company website, calling him the honorary worker of the week.

Nelson said the flaggers often ask about him if he’s late making his rounds.

Friday, with hard hat, safety glasses and shovel in hand, Spencer made his way down the street to hand out fresh water to his crew.

“They’ve been doing everything to get this boy to do things,” Murray said.

“There’s the boss. Hey, buddy!” one crew member called out as Spencer arrived Friday.

With a little help carrying the flat of Poland Spring water, Spencer handed each worker a fresh bottle.

One worker came over to put a Ranger Contracting sticker on his hard hat. Spencer turned to another worker unloading fresh asphalt from the back of a dumptruck and chirped “Get to work” at him as the rest of the crew gave him high-fives.

His father said Spencer can recognize the various construction vehicles rolling down the street. He said he’ll give them a wave and they’ll sound their air horn for him. Spencer will either give the crew a thumbs-up to let them know they’re doing good work, or he’ll tell them to get back to work and stop slacking off. He said his son had been gravitating toward Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-related books at the library, but now he takes out books about construction.

Murray said handing out water is “not much, but to him it’s a lot. He’s just being who he is.”

“Today when I told him it’s a nice thing to do with the water, (Spencer) said it’s not nice; it’s sharing,” Murray said. “He explained why it was sharing. They gave him the hat, they gave him the ice cream, they gave him the doughnuts, and it was only nice to return it.”

Douglas McIntire — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @CD_McIntire


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