Honoring fallen veterans from Maine

Maine heroes are not forgotten.  This site was orignally put together by Major David J Cote and has been revived to preserve the memory of those that have fallen from our great state of Maine. I’ve been thinking a lot about the service members from Maine who were killed in the line of duty during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Major David J. Cote is an active-duty Marine Corps officer, an Iraq war veteran and a proud native Mainer.  This past Memorial Day he launched this website and visited Maine to publicly share a vision for a unique project to honor our state’s newest war veterans and the faithful spirit of Mainers — of whom one in seven are veterans, the third-highest ranking in the nation.  The Summit Project is a living memorial that pays tribute to every fallen service member from Maine during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Volunteers will hike stones that represent each of the fallen up mountains in Maine beginning with Mt. Katahdin on Memorial Day.

Of all the service members who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, A Military Times database puts the number of fallen troops from Maine at 46, although other counts using different methods total up to 59 or more.    Whatever the number, the goal of this project is to obtain a collection of stones that represent every fallen service member who is from Maine or has Maine ties.

Once the stones are collected and ready to go, we are planning a hike up Mt. Katahdin on Memorial Day.  This hike will be like no others that day.   Together, our team of hikers will pay tribute to each of our fallen Maine heroes because within our backpacks, imperceptible to others, we will deliberately carry a stone the symbolizes the fallen.  Sacrificing the luxury of a lighter pack, we will carry these stones up Mt. Katahdin.  We will will make this small sacrifice because they made the ultimate sacrifice.  It is the least we can do and what a tremendous honor it will be.

By carrying theses stones up the trail to Katahdin we will be forever be connected to each fallen Maine hero.   Different than any other multi-sport athletic event out there, this will be an endurance event that has real meaning.   We believe that carrying these stones will help us understand what it was like to serve, what it means to serve and what it means to sacrifice for something greater, even when the payoff is sometimes unclear.


Major Cote traveled the entire state to begin visiting the hometowns of our fallen Maine heroes and met with their families.  "I have met with many families so far, I hope to meet with many more" the Major said.  "They are supporting this project in a very special way.  Through their own gesture of generosity and remembrance they they have unearthed a stone from a place that was special to the fallen –  a church yard, a camp, a fishing hole, a farmer’s field, or a school yard.   They visited that place, found a stone that tells a story about their fallen loved one– and graciously given that stone to me — to be carried on these tribute hikes.  On each stone, we will inscribe that service member’s initials, birth year, death year and service branch.  Each rock will tell a story, and each hiker who touches that stone will know that story.  We will be forever connected to the fallen.  They will never be forgotten."


Our act of solidarity and the alignment of our efforts toward the summit of Mt. Katahdin and other mountains in Maine will reinforce the values that all Mainers hold dear – we look after one another, we remember one another, we take care of one another, we are faithful and we lift each other to higher places – literally and figuratively.  In that sense, the spirit of our fallen Maine heroes can remain very much alive.


The overall goal with the Summit Project is two-fold;  First, this living memorial will pay tribute to every fallen service member from Maine and ensure that their spirit and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.   Second — These tribute hikes will create a safe environment where the family and friends of the fallen can gather in community and connect not only with each other but with the teams of hikers.  The families can help pass on the legacy of the fallen and our hikers can appreciate what their sacrifice will mean.


Anyone can carry a stone on these hikes.  I have already met so many individuals who are eager to bear this burden, but we also want to invite other groups of hikers too —  scouting groups, law enforcement organizations, college groups, hiking clubs, high school sports teams and even organizations in the private sector.   There is a very powerful team-builiding opportunity for any group of any size to honor our fallen and pay tribute to their sacrifice.  These teams can choose a mountain, plan a climb, and connect with Maine heroes, forever touched by their service to this country.  No one is excluded —  all are welcome.


We hope this project can help, in part, tell a story of a generation of Mainers who did not come back to Maine, but whose service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.    This is a story of our generation of Maine servicemembers — a story that needs to be told.  It’s an opportunity to say to our Maine veterans you did your job.  You served with honor.  You made us proud.   We are connected to you and continue to learn from your example. We are inspired by your service and your sacrifice. We do not forget you. Your legacy endures.

Finally, I think the Summit Project has the potential to make our communities stronger. Through the act of honoring our fallen heroes, giving up the luxury of a lighter pack for the greater reward of honoring the fallen and being touched by their character — We believe our community, our state and our nation can grow closer in the bonds of service and citizenship.    The story of these stones and the lives they represent will impact all of us.   One day, long after we are gone, there will be a team of hikers who, because of this project, will learn about a fallen Maine hero they have never met, who fought a war they never knew — and in that moment, on the summit of a mountain in Maine, a connection will be made and the proud legacy of our Maine heroes will endure.

I spent part of Memorial Day 2013 with Mr. Jerry Dinsmore, uncle of fallen Maine hero SGT Joshua J. Kirk of Thomaston, Maine.  Together we tended to SGT Kirk’s grave in Exeter, NH and we talked about this project.


The Honored


“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”   President John F. Kennedy

In the service and defense of our country, these brave men and women of Maine have paid the ultimate sacrifice since September 11, 2001 –

CDR Robert S. Schlegel Sep 11, 2001 Pentagon Gray

MSgt Evander E. Andrews Oct 10, 2001 Qatar Solon

LCDR Robert E. Clukey Nov 3, 2002 Adriatic Sea Orono

Maj Jay T. Aubin Mar 20, 2003 Kuwait Waterville

1SG Christopher D. Coffin Jul 1, 2003 Iraq Kennebunk

SGT Brett Pelotte Aug 19, 2003 Seoul, Korea Waterville

SGT Nicholes D. Golding Feb 13, 2004 Afghanistan Addison

SPC Jeremiah J. Holmes Mar 29, 2004 Iraq North Berwick

SPC Daniel F.J. Cunningham Apr 3, 2004 Iraq Lewiston

SGT Christopher D. Gelineau Apr 20, 2004 Iraq Portland

SGT Lawrence A. Roukey Apr 26, 2004 Iraq Westbrook

SPC Beau R. Beaulieu May 24, 2004 Iraq Lisbon

CPT Daniel J. Tranchemontagne May 30,2004 Kuwait Portland

CPT Christopher S. Cash Jun 24, 2004 Iraq Old Orchard Beach

SSG Lynn R. Poulin Dec 21, 2004 Iraq Freedom

SGT Thomas J. Dostie Dec 21, 2004 Iraq Somerville

1SG Michael D. Jones Mar 3, 2005 Iraq Unity

MSG Robert M. Horrigan Jun 17, 2005 Iraq Limestone

SPC Joshua U. Humble Feb 26, 2006 Iraq Appleton

SGT Corey A. Dan Mar 13, 2006 Iraq Norway

SPC Dustin J. Harris Apr 6, 2006 Iraq Patten

SSG Dale J. Kelly Jr.May 6, 2006 Iraq Richmond

SSG David M. Veverka May 6, 2006 Iraq Orono

CPT Patrick D. Damon Jun 15, 2006 Afghanistan Falmouth

PFC Andrew R. Small Aug 11, 2006 Afghanistan Wiscasset

1LT Benjamin D. Keating Nov 26, 2006 Afghanistan Shapleigh

Cpl Dustin J. Libby Dec 6, 2006 Iraq Presque Isle

SSG Kristopher R. Ciraso Dec 7, 2006 Iraq Bangor

SSG Eric Ross Feb 9, 2007 Iraq Kenduskeag

LCpl Angel Rosa Mar 13, 2007 Iraq South Portland

SGT Jason W. Swiger Mar 25, 2007 Iraq South Portland

SGT Edmund W. McDonald Mar 28, 2007 Afghanistan Casco

SPC Christopher M. Wilson Mar 29, 2007 Afghanistan Bangor

SGT Richard K. Parker Jun 14, 2007 Iraq Phillips

SGT Joel A. House Jun 23, 2007 Iraq Lee

SPC Jason E. Dore Jul 8, 2007 Iraq Moscow

SGT Blair W. Emery Nov 30, 2007 Iraq Lee

SFC Jonathan A. Lowery Dec 14, 2007 Iraq Houlton

PFC Tyler J. Smith Mar 21, 2008Iraq Bethel

SGT Nicholas A. Robertson Apr 3, 2008 Afghanistan Old Town

SPC Justin L. Buxbaum May 26, 2008 Afghanistan South Portland

LCpl Joshua M. Bernard Aug 14, 2009 Afghanistan New Portland

PFC Jordan M. Brochu Aug 31, 2009 Afghanistan Oakland

SGT Joshua J. Kirk Oct 3, 2009 Afghanistan South Portland

Maj Samuel C. Leigh Oct 29, 2009 San Diego Belgrade

SPC Wade A. Slack May 6, 2010 Afghanistan Waterville

SSG Brandon M. Silk Jun 21, 2010 Afghanistan Orono

SSG Eric B. Shaw Jun 27, 2010 Afghanistan Exeter

PFC Clinton E. Springer II Sep 24, 2010 Afghanistan Sanford

1stLt James R. Zimmerman Nov 2, 2010 Afghanistan Smyrna

CPL Andrew L. Hutchins Nov 8, 2010 Afghanistan New Portland

PFC Buddy W. McLain Nov 29, 2010 Afghanistan Mexico

Cpl Mark R. Goyet Jun 28, 2011 Afghanistan Westbrook

PFC Tyler M. Springmann Jul 17, 2011 Afghanistan Hartland

CPT John R. Brainard III May 28, 2012 Afghanistan Dover-Foxcroft

MSgt Ryan C. C. Love July 19, 2012 29 Palms, CA Frankfort

PO1 Patrick D. Feeks Aug 16, 2012 Afghanistan Gorham

SSG Jessica M. Wing Aug 27, 2012 Kuwait Glenburn

SFC Aaron A. Henderson Oct 2, 2012 Afghanistan Houlton

SGT Corey E. Garver Jun 23, 2013 Afghanistan Topsham


The Katahdin Hike

During Memorial Day weekend, The Summit Project will attempt to complete our first inaugural tribute event to Katahdin.   A special team of hikers, dedicated to this climb, and committed to our mission, will climb Katahdin while carrying all of our memorial stones. Once we reach the summit, we will NOT leave the stones on the peak.  After a short memorial ceremony, we will carry the stones back down the mountain and retain them for future hikes, for future weekends, for future mountains.  That first Katahdin team will carry the stones for the hike, but they will carry the stories for a lifetime.  As the years pass, the stories of the fallen will touch the lives of countless other hikers who take on the challenge of Katahdin. We will honor the fallen by challenging the living. The positive impact of this project will have no limits.

Throughout the calendar year our stones will be carried all over Maine and beyond, but on every Memorial Day weekend, we hope to return to Katahdin and with a new team of hikers, carry all our stones to the summit.  There is simply no memorial activity like this in the entire nation, perhaps the world.

This page is dedicated to our commemorative tribute hikes to Katahdin.    That climb and the weekend that our Teams spend with each other and with the surviving Maine families will be emotional, healing, inspiring, challenging and unforgettable.

That story will be told here.


The Living Memorial

 The Summit Project is a Living Memorial, open for the participation of everyone. TSP is really about building and bolstering community.  We invite you to be part of this living memorial in any way that you can imagine. Just send us your ideas and we can make it happen.

There is a great quote by Albert Einstein that says “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” On this page we hope to capture the stories, pictures, memories and imaginations of those who have chosen to participate in The Summit Project. It is here that you will see that The Summit Project is truly a Living Memorial!

The Summit Project welcomes Teams of any size and any affiliation who want to carry stones, honor our fallen Maine heroes and sustain their memories.   If you represent a group, have an idea for a Team Event, we want to know it. We  to invite you to be part of The Summit Project, and we thank you for honoring our heroes through this living memorial. This website has been brought back by a Web Design Company in Maine donating their time to restore it to remember those that have served to ensure our freedom.


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