2017-11-10 / Front Page

The Summit Project teams with Habitat's ReStore for tribute hike

Executive Editor

KENNEBUNK — A nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring fallen military members from Maine is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity of York County’s ReStore in Kennebunk to conduct a tribute march in the community on Nov. 18.

The Summit Project is a Living Memorial supported by an ever-growing family of thousands of dedicated and patriotic individuals who all have personally invested in the mission of not forgetting Maine service members who have died in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001.

Supporters of The Summit Project carry memorial stones honoring those who have died on tribute hikes and by carrying their stories with them for a lifetime, making it a genuine living memorial.

A number of the memorial stones travel the state in a display known as “The Honor Case” and that  special tribute is now on display at the Habitat ReStore, 4 Industrial Drive in Kennebunk, before it moves on to its next destination.

A group of volunteers will hike from the Kennebunk Free Library to the ReStore at 10 a.m. Nov. 18 carrying selected stones from the case to commission the new honor case location. 

The volunteers will hear the stories of the soldiers whose stones they will be carrying in order to make a personal connection with them. While at the library, the walkers will pause for a sharing session with one another and upon their return, share their experiences in writing with the families of the fallen soldiers. 

According to retired Marine Corps Major David J. Cote, The Summit Project pays tribute to the state's newest war casualties and the faithful spirit of all Mainers.

He said that the surviving families of fallen Maine heroes have each unearthed and donated a special stone that represents the fallen.

"Our tribute hikes will become a symbol of solidarity that recognizes the burden shouldered by our brave Maine service members and their families," Cote said. "In that sense, the spirit and memory of our fallen Maine heroes will remain alive."

Cote said that one of the most common questions that people ask is how the concept of The Summit Project living memorial was inspired.  

"The creation of The Summit Project was influenced by two main sources," he said. "First — Mainers are veterans.  Veterans comprise nearly 15 percent of our state’s population ranking among the very highest veteran populations of any state in America.  Put another way, nearly 1 in 7 Maine adults is a veteran.

"Maine’s patriotism and commitment to service in our Armed Forces is nothing short of extraordinary.  We must match with equal devotion, our commitment to them," Cote said. "They served us, we must now serve them by remembering them and taking care of our living veterans. I hope this memorial can help tell the stories of a generation of brave Maine veterans who did not return home but whose service and sacrifice must never be forgotten.  This is a story of our generation of Maine service members — a story that needs to be told."

The tribute march in Kennebunk is open to students, parents and community members of York County and if you would like to participate, call Bob at the Habitat ReStore at 502-7021 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at editor@journaltribune.com 

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