Rotary Club of Rockland

"The Road Less Traveled"

 

Rev. Paul Marshall spoke to the Rockland Rotary members recounting his involvement in establishing and building a high school in Micronesia in the early 1960’s.  Rev. Marshall began his presentation with a re-cap of this earlier experience in WWII when he was a medic in the Army with the 104th Infantry Division called the Timberwolves.   Returning to Maine after the war, Rev. Marshall worked for the U.S. Forest Service, obtained a degree in Math and Science and later was contacted by a Mission Board to become a missionary in Micronesia.

 

 

From this point, Rev. Marshall took the “road less traveled” based on Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, and accepted the offer to establish a high school which he called, Mizpah.  He and another missionary built the school where he became the principal.  The purpose of the school was to prepare leaders for a new country which became the Federated States of Micronesia in 1978.  With great pride, Rev. Marshall stated the new leaders graduated from his high school.  A young 14 year old boy from his school eventually became the first Vice President of the new country.   During Rev. Marshall’s time in Micronesia, 100 students were educated at Mizpah. 

Rev. Marshall gave the Rotary members a history lesson about Micronesia and the family’s travel to that location.  Micronesia is located in the Pacific Ocean between Polynesia and Indonesia in the Caroline Islands with the family’s final destination to Truk.  From Maine, the family took a train across America to San Francisco then a ship named the USS President McKinley to Guam and finally to the island of Truk.  The trip took 14 days and 8,000 miles.

In Micronesia twelve to thirteen different languages are spoken led by chiefs and tribes.   Whalers and explorers took advantage of these people for labor in earlier times.  However, Rev. Marshall’s work crew were volunteers who built the high school because they wanted their children to attend school.

The life of Rev. Paul Marshall can be found in his book, “Maine Boy Goes to War and the Story of Mizpah” published by Legacy Preserves, 2014 copyright.  Look for his book at local bookstores and also available through Amazon.