Editor’s observe: The BDN’s preliminary protection of Lance Bradford’s demise highlighted his current felony historical past and launch from the Penobscot County Jail. This story goals to supply a fuller image of his life and the way he helped the Bangor-area restoration group.
A rising Bangor group that gives housing for individuals recovering from dependancy wouldn’t exist in the present day if a person, who died in late Could, hadn’t saved the founder’s life on one scorching early September day 4 years in the past.
In 2018, Lance Bradford discovered Scott Pardy unconscious in his yard as he suffered from a coronary heart assault. Bradford known as 911 and Pardy was revived within the ambulance, then taken to the hospital the place he had a stent inserted.
5 weeks later, Pardy closed on a Bangor residence that might change into the primary location for Contemporary Begin Sober Dwelling.
Immediately, Pardy is getting ready to open Contemporary Begin’s eleventh location in a former girls’s boarding residence on Ohio St. in Bangor, which he bought on July 1. The brand new residence brings Contemporary Begin Sober Dwelling’s whole housing capability to 85 individuals.
As he works to safe extra houses to deal with an insatiable demand for locations the place individuals in restoration can reside and keep sober, Pardy mentioned he’s contemplating naming a future residence after Bradford, who died in late Could of unintentional drowning. Bradford’s physique was discovered alongside the Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor on Could 29. His demise was not thought of suspicious.
The main points of how the 35-year-old had a long-lasting impression on Bangor’s restoration group paint a fuller image of a life that beforehand was solely identified to the broader public by way of the restricted window of his run-ins with regulation enforcement and tragic demise.
Pardy was devastated to listen to his shut good friend Bradford died after watching his lengthy combat with substance use dysfunction.
“I’ve at all times had good emotions about Lance and thought he may get it sometime, however he simply wasn’t in a position to,” Pardy mentioned. “He actually needed to get well. He simply didn’t know how one can get there.”
Pardy met Bradford in 2014 within the Penobscot County Jail, the place Pardy used to carry restoration conferences previous to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He was one of many few that at all times got here to the restoration conferences, and I acquired to know him through the years,” Pardy mentioned. “He’d get out of jail and be pressured to return to the place he got here from, whether or not it was the streets, a foul relationship or a crack home, after which I’d see him again in jail once more.”
In early September 2018, Pardy let Bradford keep in his residence after he was launched from jail so he had someplace protected to go and keep sober.
On Sept. 2, the 2 have been exterior behind Pardy’s Bangor residence clearing brush with a chainsaw when Pardy began to really feel weak. He handed the chainsaw to Bradford and headed inside to get a drink and lie down. He collapsed on the garden whereas on his method there, he mentioned.
“Thankfully for me, the chainsaw died, so Lance got here up and located me on the garden,” Pardy mentioned. “He known as 911 and the following factor I knew, they’re reviving me within the ambulance and asking me if I knew the place I used to be.”
Pardy stayed within the hospital for just a few days and had a stent put in. 5 weeks later, on Oct. 9, Pardy closed on the primary Contemporary Begin Sober Dwelling location, an eight-bedroom residence in Bangor.
“If it wasn’t for Lance, I’d be lifeless and Contemporary Begin wouldn’t exist in the present day,” he mentioned. “He was caring, sort, and actually loved serving to others. He additionally had an infectious smile and an excellent chuckle, and I believe that’s what I’ll bear in mind about him.”
Pardy based Contemporary Begin Sober Dwelling for the individuals like Bradford whom he watched “undergo the revolving door” out and in of jail, he mentioned. Every time they have been launched, that they had no protected place to go and ultimately would find yourself again in jail.
“It exploded from there,” he mentioned. “I consider it makes a distinction and it’s serving to, at the very least in a teeny method.”
Bradford had enrolled in a welding program in Ellsworth earlier than his final stint in jail and had change into passionate in regards to the commerce, mentioned Sonya Burke, Bradford’s older sister.
He needed to go away the Bangor space after his April launch from jail to change into a licensed welder and start a profession in welding and woodworking, breaking the cycle of dependancy and incarceration, Burke mentioned.
“He advised me he was uninterested in that way of life of going out and in of jail,” Burke mentioned. “There’s no construction, and it’s exhausting to get again in your ft while you re-enter society, and it’s a very easy slippery slope for those who don’t make large adjustments.”
Bradford, who was born in Portland and spent a lot of his childhood in southern Maine earlier than shifting to the Bangor space, was the youngest of eight youngsters, Burke mentioned. He was a candy, lively, social one who cherished time together with his household. His nickname was Lancey.
“He was a goofball and at all times the lifetime of the get together,” she mentioned. “His job was to make everybody chuckle, and it’s what he liked to do. He by no means took himself too severely.”
Each summer time, their household would hire a camp in Maine and spend time collectively. Bradford liked to spend time across the campfire, roasting marshmallows and sharing tales, Burke mentioned.
“I’ve two daughters and he liked his nieces very a lot,” she mentioned. “He at all times tried to remain related regardless that we lived distant. He was liked by lots of people.”