DRACUT -- Shawn Ashe's only lament is that there are not more hours in the day.
The 48-year-old Billerica native, who has called Dracut his home since 1988, is busy from early in the morning until late at night. In addition to his job as a defense contractor for BAE Systems in Hudson, N.H., Ashe can usually be found at a Dracut Selectmen's meeting, or a School Committee meeting, or a candidates' debate, or some function at the high school or at the Dracut Housing Authority.
His commentary, audio and video files and photographs can be found soon after the event on his website, www.dracutforum.net, which he launched in its present form in 2003. When he's not doing that, he's lining up guests for the Saturday morning radio show, "Saturday Morning Live," hosted by former Dracut Selectman Warren Shaw on WCAP-AM 980. Or he might be busy perfecting the software that will be needed for the online auction in December when the Salvation Army holds its annual radio fundraiser.
Until recently, Ashe was a single foster parent of teens, some with whom he still maintains contact. For years, he was actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America. Oh, and he also hosted a short-lived Cable Access Television program called, what else, Dracut Forum.
On any given day, it's not uncommon to spot his shiny gray Chrysler convertible at one end of town or the other and all points in between.
Q: What drives Shawn Ashe?
A: "Service. My day job is about service to country as a defense contractor and back in the town it's about helping the residents better understand local government. That's what the Dracut Forum is about: getting information out to the public. I will study an issue and learn as much as I can about it before I try to educate someone else. The Salvation Army? Foster parenting? That's all about service. I get great satisfaction from being of service to someone."
Q: What rules govern the Dracut Forum website?
A: "People just have to use their real names. (Former Dracut Selectman) Dennis Williams taught me that. Use real names and hold people responsible for what they say. I really don't censor anybody unless what they're saying is illegal or obscene and vulgar."
Q: What could you accomplish if the days were 30 hours long?
A: "If I had more time, I'd love to enlarge and expand the Forum. I could spend the time to line up advertisers so I could hire more people to write on the website and provide alternative voices. That's where I'd like to go. I don't want it to just be my voice. That's why I love the feedback and the comments that come in. I like people challenging me. I'd love to be able to hire students and other people to write and contribute to the Forum."
Q: What are your duties at the radio station?
A: "Warren calls me the 'executive producer.' Basically I just help Warren during the week find and line up guests and on Saturday mornings I fill in on the soundboard when (producer Tim Bomil) is out of the studio. I also add to the discussion and handle phone calls. We're here every Saturday morning between 5:15 and 5:30 and we go on the air at 6 a.m. It's a four-hour show."
Q: Would you ever consider running for office?