Former Ski Coach Impacts Community in Sports and Life

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 6:13 PM EDT
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FORT KENT, Maine (WAGM) - Ben Paradis has been setting examples for over forty years in Aroostook County. The 77 year-old wakes up every morning and engages in some kind of physical exercise.

“It’s makes me feel great, it gives me energy, and that’s why I’m still doing it,” said Paradis.

But, it’s what comes after the exercise that makes him so loved in the community.

“ Humble, smart, giving, giving, giving, give you the shirt off his back, got a huge heart, super intelligent, absent-minded professor, active, go, go go. That’s Ben,” said Paradis’ friend Carl Theriault.

Paradis was a coach and teacher for many years. Now, he volunteers with civics groups, helps out at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center, makes donations, and still coaches and teaches part time. He says his reason for doing so is simple.

“I was from a very big family that wasn’t very affluent, but I had so many people help me,” he said.

So now, he wants to do the same for others.

“He’s just always ready to help somebody in need, be it with his 14 apartment buildings he owns around town and his children his nephews, his nieces, anyone from the community, ski team people, i mean he’s always helping people,” said Theriault.

“The more you can do to help others, the happier you are going to be,” Paradis said.

Many of his guiding principles come from coaching and teaching.

“I used to preach that a team is like a chain, it’s only as strong as the weakest link. So, everybody has to be strong to keep the team in tact,” Paradis said.

“You know he always talks about when, you know they were starting the ski team here in town how, you know a lot of the kids didn’t have ski equipment or you know how he was grooming them late at night with a snow mobile. He’d find a way, always to get ski equipment and that’s kind of a philosophy he’s always had. There’s no kid that’s not allowed on our team because they don’t have equipment. We always find a way to give it to them. And he was buying equipment for the kids for many years because the school could’t afford it. So again, that’s a series of stories of what he always done,” said Theriault.

“The secret to any program, it doesn’t have to be skiing, any program,” Paradis said. “If you can find a way to make your athletes feel important feeling like they’re improving, and that they are helping the success of the team.”

Paradis uses this mantra not only with his athletes but also with everyone he meets. He says he wants to set examples and this is how he does it.

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