Thornton Academy Trojan News

Arrive alive: A life cut too short by drunk driving

Posted by Katy Nicketakis on Apr 19, 2018 1:11:54 PM
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The Thornton Academy community is strong and supportive. It came together recently to memorialize Paul Putney '65, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver when he was only 22 years old. Classmates, friends, and teachers of Paul, and family members, gathered in the New Media Center to dedicate a memorial plaque created by Paul's niece Alana Saunders '12 and nephew Reece Saunders '17.

The plaque features a poem by Alana and drawing by Reece encouraging individuals, especially teenagers, to practice healthy habits to "Arrive Alive" by not driving while under the influence. Reece’s drawing won second place in the Arrive Alive Creative Contest in 2017. The Arrive Alive contest is sponsored by the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein and has for its mission to inspire teenagers to share creative ideas about how to prevent dangerous driving.

Paul Putney's family stands with the memorial plaque.

Ann Saunders '75, Adelle Saunders '10, Reece Saunders '17, Richard Putney '78, and Alana Saunders '12 stand next to the plaque memorializing their brother and uncle Paul Putney '65.


After graduation from Thornton Academy in 1965, Paul Putney attended the University of Maine, Portland (now University of Southern Maine). ReHe was in his first year of teaching at Cony High school when tragedy struck, and his life was ended when he swerved to avoid a drunk driver.

Paul's classmate and friend Peter Scontras '65 spoke about Paul and his dedication to his university studies. "He would often walk the 2.5 miles down North Street to meet me to get a ride to class," Scontras reminisced.

Peter Scontras '65 speaks during the ceremony for Paul Putney.

Peter Scontras '65 remembers his friend and classmate Paul Putney. 


Ann Saunders '75, Paul's sister (and Reece and Alana’s mother) described how Paul was a rock upon which their family depended until his death. He inspired her to live life with kindness and encouragement of others.

Paul's passion was baseball. At the time of his death, he was about to begin as baseball coach at Cony High School. His high school coach, Phil Curtis, also spoke at the event about Paul's focus and good sportsmanship. UMaine Portland set up a posthumous scholarship in Paul's name for good sportsmanship.

Associate Head of School Marsha Snyder concluded the event by reminding the crowd that a life well-lived, even if short, can have a positive effect on generations of individuals.

remembering Paul Putney '65

Former math teacher and baseball coach Phil Curtis shares a memory of Paul Putney with Associate Head of School Marsha Snyder.  


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Topics: community, alumni