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His Story Lives On

Issue 17

A ripple effect … continued

Bruce Pierce of Calais died in a car accident in the early morning hours of July 28, 2021. Bruce is remembered for his volunteerism in the local recovery community, and for being a kind soul who made an impact on everyone he met. Amy Day and Krystal Murphy of DownEast Recovery Support Center – Calais, where Bruce volunteered, share his story.

[Responses have been lightly edited for length.]


I met Bruce years ago in 12 step meetings during my own recovery journey. He would be so friendly to newcomers, offering to get coffee and share his phone number. I left the area and then moved back a few years later, and Bruce was still there, and still as friendly as ever. When I started with the DownEast Recovery Support Center in Machias, Bruce immediately wanted to know how he could help me get the word out, get meetings going and be there to offer support. When we opened our location in Calais, Bruce became even more involved.

What Bruce did best was share his recovery story. He wasn’t afraid to talk about his struggles and how he overcame them. Hearing how others are succeeding in recovery is so important for people just starting out on their journey. Bruce made a huge impact this way.

It wouldn’t matter what time of day or night it was, he would be available. Often males prefer talking to other males and Bruce was our go-to. He had a way of always making a special connection. You knew he cared.

Bruce was also a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. He delivered meals, but always made sure to check in and find out how the person was doing. He was such a humble guy. His family had no idea just how involved he was with his community. At his memorial service, looking around and seeing all the people whose lives Bruce touched was an amazing moment for them.

Bruce’s loss is felt so strongly by so many.


One thing I loved about Bruce was his eagerness to keep learning more about recovery. Bruce had used abstinence in his recovery. This was a very important part of his story, but one day we had a really long conversation about different methods of recovery (i.e., possibly using medications) that work for different people.

Bruce seemed reluctant at first to consider that methods besides complete abstinence could work, but then he went off and did a lot of thinking, and then came back and announced to me, “You know what? I think you’re right!” Bruce then made it a point to preach the idea of different forms of recovery in his conversations. He did this because he was just so committed to helping people in any way they needed.

Bruce was really loved by our community. The warm line volunteers would recognize his voice when he called and he would turn the call back on them, checking in to make sure they were okay. Bruce would get multiple Thanksgiving invitations. He was well fed! Bruce was also the best pet owner. You would see him out walking his dog Rambo [who sadly passed a few months prior to Bruce’s death] every day.

Bruce was filled with a deep faith and truly believed that recovery for anyone was possible. I also know that he was always concerned that he wasn’t reaching enough people. The truth is he reached so many, and by continuing to share his story, he is reaching even more.


Jacqueline Brown
Jacqueline Brown
Jacqueline Brown is a freelance writer from Southern Maine who regularly contributes to national and regional publications. A former public school teacher in the Boston area, Jacqueline is the published author of several books for children, one of which won the Maine Literary Award for Children's Literature in 2018. When she's not at her computer, Jacqueline can be found looking for sea glass at her favorite beach.

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