It’s 8:25 a.m. today, August 24, 2016 in Lincoln, NH: The sound of bagpipes fills Church Street. As I continue my morning routine of rushing about like a madwoman gathering objects in my condo to bring into the Real Estate office my body comes to a hault- when is the last time I heard bagpipes? Only in New Hampshire.
As I continue to listen to the Scottish tunes bounce through our beautiful White Mountains I take a moment to meditate on what's going on. Lincoln, NH is a small town- under 2000 people live here year round. During winters and summers our town quadruples, probably even more. The drawn out sounds are melodic and hypnotizing but I know in this town, this early in the morning, something monumental has happened.
The sound comes from the Fire Department, across the street from the Church. Men in uniforms start to direct cars to parking spaces as community members line the sidewalks, dressed in suits and black dresses.
Someone has died. In fact, there are others in critical condition. A car accident occurred and took someone’s life, and maybe another soon.
By 11:30am the Funeral procession is in full swing with more than a dozen state departments showing presence. Fire trucks line the streets with flashing lights while police vehicles block off parts of Church and Main Street. Flags are at half mast and will remain so for the duration of the week. This is a big deal. For a few hours out of the day the entire community, all the way down Main Street, observe and come together to honor this local.
I didn’t know Steve Bomba personally, but he was born and raised in Lincoln. I’ve heard the name around town. We have about a dozen friends in common on Facebook. At only 25 he was an EMT and a Dispatcher with the Lincoln Police Department, an active community member and made it to Captain of the Fire Department here in town. Lincoln has had a tough few years of young adult deaths ranging from car accidents to drug overdoses. If you haven’t heard, New Hampshire has a huge drug and alcohol problem. It makes absolutely no sense- we live in one of the most beautiful four season resort towns in the country. Activities for the family are plentiful year round, yet drunk driving accidents are the number one cause of death in this state. In fact, a few of our towns make the list to most alcohol consumed per person per area in the country. It doesn't make any sense...we have gorgeous mountains and lakes to play in. Despite it all we have some of the strongest communities I have ever seen and experienced- families and friends bond together like glue, through heartache and hardship. After living out West for several years and in the UK before that, I have never seen such strong family ties and values. It’s the reason I moved back to NH- to be closer and more involved in my family. Maybe it’s because the states are smaller or there are more Ivy leagues than any other area of the country. Family values are extremely important to us. When something happens to one of us, we come together.
This is exactly what anyone can expect when they join this community. Yes, there are some die hard locals who have been in town since it’s founding years who see second home owners as an invasion, but understand that’s only temporary. We want our community members to be involved; have your kids attend Linwood Elementary School and join one of the best ski teams in the country. Train and have coffee with Olympians. Hike the trails and join a volunteer organization to build and maintain them. Get involved in a local theatre production at Jean’s Playhouse or bring your guitar to Open Mic at the Woodstock Station. This is what community is. This is Lincoln, NH.
Photo taken by local artist Becca Powell
For more information or how to donate to the Heroes Memorial Foundation, click here: http://www.goheroes.us/fire--rescue/captain-steven-bomba
To donate to Mike Weden, another victim in the car with Steve, please give whatever you can to help his wife and child while Mike is in critical condition at Dartmouth-https://www.gofundme.com/2q297zzg
Written by Sarah Alexandra, Office Millennial