HOLLIS – Kevin Gagne says he does not deserve any medals or accolades for offering the former centerpiece of his living room to the first person willing to haul it away. He’s just doing what any normal person would do in the same situation.
Gagne, 51, lugged his 28-inch RCA television to the end of his driveway Tuesday and perched it atop the crusted snowbank next to his mailbox. Then, using a standard Bic pen, he scrawled the word “FREE” on a piece of cardboard, and duct-taped the cardboard to the top of the TV.
This simple act of generosity did not go unnoticed by Gagne’s neighbors.
“He’s always putting shit out by the road,” said Vance Watson, who lives diagonally across from Gagne on Little Falls Road (Route 35). “Half the time I go throw it in the back of my truck for the next dump run, just so I don’t have to look at it anymore.”
Gagne bristles at the suggestion that he could simply throw away the TV, which he purchased brand new at Sears in 1989. “It’s a perfectly good, working television,” he says. “Sure, it takes a minute or two to warm up. But it’s a lot better than not having one. Some people can’t afford to have a TV.”
Or, he said, “Someone may need the circuitry for a repair project. Or maybe some kid will want to take it apart to see how it works. You just never know.”
“They have cell phone apps for that now,” grumbled Watson, highlighting the need for underprivileged children to have access to hands-on enrichment. “And who doesn’t have a TV? My cousin is on welfare and has a Wii, for Christ’s sake.”
Paul Burgess, who lives two houses down from Gagne, felt the power of his neighbor’s giving spirit two years ago. Gagne left a malfunctioning chest freezer in Burgess’s front yard, with a note that said, “thought you could use this. Would make good bait tank.”
To say that Burgess was moved would be an understatement. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said, fists clenching with gratitude. “I don’t even fish.”
Gagne, ever humble, does not understand what all the fuss is about. “It’s not like I’m going without a TV,” he says. “I got a new one on Craigslist for $50.”
He added that if no one picks up the TV he’ll post it in Uncle Henry’s or Craigslist, possibly as part of an offer to trade for some guns.