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HEBRON – Having been brought up on a farm and learning how to drive at a very young age has taught Rich Hatch a strong work ethic and a powerful sense of responsibility to family community and country.
Q: Where were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born in Lewiston and raised in Auburn on the family farm where the Auburn Middle School is now located.
Q: Do you have many siblings?
A: Yes, I have six; four sisters and two brothers, Five older and one younger.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: They ran a dairy farm with 45 to 70 Holstein milking cows plus a vegetable stand with year-round butter, eggs and honey.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: I say normal ... I started chores when I started school and had to do them before and after school. In the fall, in addition to feeding livestock, I also had certain vegetables that had to be picked before going to school.
Until high school I came home right after school for chores, but I do recall still having time to play in the barns and woods. I learned to drive at age 9 on the biggest diesel tractor we had. By age 10, I was driving up and down the road to the other farm we had or to other fields.
In the early days of the '60s we had hundreds of chickens, but lost them to disease and them we stopped raising them commercially. Meal times were crowded because we had either hired hands or friends joining us.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: Game Warden and Wildlife Biologist.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to Edward Little High School and later University of Maine in Farmington and University of Maine in Orono. I also went to the University of New England and Central Maine Community College.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
Q: What have you had for jobs?
A: Working on the farm, college, resident assistant farmhand, student caterer.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouse?
A: Our families had known each other for years. Jane’s family lived out of state, but would come up once or twice a year. In the '90s I was just ending my divorce and she just started hers, so we started talking and sharing stories and mutual support.
In December, 1991, I went to Massachusetts to help remodel part of her house and we started having serious conversations after that and the rest is history.
Q: What did you do for work when you got married?
A: I was working in a polyurethane molding facility as a model maker designing shoe soles with fancy treads and logos.
Q: How many children do you have?
A: I have six wonderful kids. Jane and I have Samantha and Andrew, and Erin and Mike from my first marriage and Jen and Chris from Jane’s first marriage.
Q: Anyone ever said you look like some famous?
A: Not that I recall.
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: I did some in college; traveling to friends, homes from Mississippi to Kentucky. After I joined the National Guards in 1991 I have traveled a lot more.
Q: Which place was the most fascinating and why?
A: I would have to say Kurdistan in Northern Iraq. The rugged mountains, but yet the people were ingenious enough to survive and resourceful enough to not waste a lot. While serving there on a humanitarian mission my squad lived in the village for about two months.
At the time I was deployed I had been teaching in a high school and when the local kids found out they would swarm me after class and want to try out their English on me while quizzing me on my Kurdish. Once accepted by the kids all the parents accepted me too.
Q: Did anyone influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: No, Jane has kept me on the right path.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: I collect projects that I hope to one day to have time to complete. I like to landscape and work in my yard.
A: Lots! Boy Scouts, VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Vets, Maine Military Historical Society,
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: Either a Stephen Coonts or Mocking Jay, Book 3, of the Hunger Games series.
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: Which one don’t I want to know more about!
Q: What is the one thing you would not give up?
A: My family.
Q: What is the best memory this interview brought back?
A: My diverse and very active community involvement.
Q: Any regrets?
A: Yes, some involving lack of tact, but that also shaped who I am today. I also regret not paying more attention to my grandparents’ talents and skills.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: Failing to be able to provide for my family.
Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A: Old and senile or ... .