New Documentary Focuses on Small Town of Lee 

Residents of Lee will tell you it’s the definition of small town Maine.”Here basically everybody waves, you go to the local store and say hi to everybody, everybody knows where you work, what you do for work,” described Paul House of Lee.In a community this small, when tragedy strikes, it affects the whole town. That’s what happened when the House family and the Emery family lost their sons in Iraq. Sergeant Joel House and Sergeant Blair Emery, both from Lee, were killed in 2007.”It’s like family and when there is a tragedy in a small community people feel it. I think they really feel the pain and the suffering,” said Paul House, Sergeant Joel House’s father.”When you lose one of those kids, the town loses them,” said Quie Emery, Sergeant Blair Emery’s mother.The story of these two families and how their personal tragedies affected the town caught national attention. It also caught the attention of a producer, Bill Perna, who wanted to create a film documenting it all.”You just see a name and a cause of death in the Department of Defense announcement, but what that must be like for a small town like Lee with 850 people to lose 2 boys who had lived here their whole life,” said Deanna House, Sergeant Joel House’s mother and associate producer of the documentary.The documentary called Welcome to Lee, Maine shows how the town came together to cope.”I think the people are going to see what we went through and they’re going to see through being positive what can happen,” said Paul House.The two families hope sharing their stories might help others facing similar tragedies.Sergeant Blair Emery’s father, Bill Emery, said, “There’s 5,000 other familes that have gone through the same thing. We don’t know them but we know what they’re feeling.”These families want to pay forward the help they received from a town that supported them in a time of need and continues to support them to this day.The documentary is premiering this Saturday at 7:00 PM at the Dingley Auditorium on the Lee Academy campus. There’s no admission fee, but donations will be accepted for a scholarship in Blair Emery’s name and The House in the Woods military retreat, started by the House family.