NEWPORT — Columbia Forest Products recently announced the retirement of three long-time employees.
Thursday, March 28, 2019, marked the retirement of Don Deslandes from Columbia Forest Products, after 28 ½ years of service.
Born in Newport, he graduated from N.C.U.H.S.
Deslandes held his first job farming on Jordan’s farm for 3 years.
He then put down new tracks for the CNR Railroad for 3 summers, after which he was a sprayer at Ethan Allen in Island Pond, for 5 years
He also worked on both the Brighton and Newport Ambulance for 9 years.
Deslandes joined Columbia Forest Products on September 7, 1990, as a janitor.
He later held the patcher job in the splicing department for a few months. He held the hazardous waste coordinator position for the last 10 years, up until his retirement.
Deslandes and his wife Candy live in Newport.
They raised 5 children; Ralph, Alain, Christine, Cheyenne and Melissa and were blessed with 4 grandchildren; Peyton, 7, McKenzie, 3, Kadence, 4 and Rayven, 2, and are expecting another granddaughter in July.
His retirement plans are to spend more time with the family. He enjoys traveling and hopes to visit Las Vegas and Florida.
Deslandes is an avid NY Yankee and Jets fan. He also enjoys camping, and fishing and will continue to do some part-time security work.
Thursday, March 28, 2019, marked the retirement of Mike Fortin from Columbia Forest Products, after nearly 25 years of service. Born in St. Albans, he graduated from N.C.U.H.S.
Fortin held his first job working on the family farm for 20 years.
He joined Columbia Forest Products on May 16, 1994, as a part-time janitor.
He later held the following jobs: pre-sorter, clipper operator, grader, defect clipper operator, weigh & tag.
He also held the service job for the last 15 years, up until his retirement.
During his tenure, he had an exemplary attendance record.
Fortin and his wife Debbie live in Holland.
They raised 1 daughter; Christine and were blessed with 3 grandchildren; Adam, 25, Jacob, 23 and Rebecca, 17.
He looks forward to planting a vegetable garden with his mother and maintaining his late father’s blueberry and raspberry patches.
He enjoys hunting and is an avid Red Sox fan.
Fortin can be found working in his sugarbush doing one of his favorite things, operating his chainsaw to expose young maple trees.
He says he will never forget the kindness from his peers following the passing of his father, and that he is fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Columbia Forest Products.
Friday, March 29, 2019, marked the retirement of Randy Westover from Columbia Forest Products, after 40 ½ years of service. Born in Newport, Westover graduated from N.C.U.H.S.
He held his first job farming as a teenager for 3 years and then worked as an assembler at Newport Plastics for 3 weeks when he received a call from Columbia for an interview.
Westover joined Columbia Forest Products on September 11, 1978, as a round-up man for approximately one year.
He held the following positions:
Janitor, salvage clipper operator, service, booker during the first five years, after which he was promoted to the drying department crew leader for 5 years, and then cutting department crew leader of which he held for the last 30 years, up until his retirement.
Westover and his wife, Lisa live in Derby Line. They raised 4 children; Adam, Amanda, Travis and Jeremy and were blessed with 8 grandchildren; Haden, 12, Kaleb, 10, Tristin, 10, Jayce, 7, Lexi, 6, Silas, 6, Jaydon, 5, Mason, 7 months, and are expecting another in September.
Westover’s retirement plans are to work on some home improvement projects and to re-learn how to play his new guitar.
He hopes to travel to Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas.
During the summer, he enjoys riding his motorcycle and spending time at the lake.
He also enjoys modifying muscle cars, bowling, playing cards and golf on the Wii.
He may consider taking up brook fishing again and finding a part-time job.
Representatives from Columbia Forest Products say they deeply appreciate the dedicated service all three men showed over the years.