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Heroes Wall(November 15, 2007)
The Heroes Wall is a memorial like no other, created by WAGM-TV of Presque Isle in association with Get Etched of Brunswick, a granite wall consisting of etched tiles with photos and messages to honor the Veterans of this great nation. In attendance were representatives from both Congressman Mike Michaud's and Senator Susan Collins' office, as well as other prominent members of the community. Governor Baldacci, disappointed that he would not be able to attend the event, sent his regards, "This is a special project, a wonderful tribute from the people of this area, recognizing the patriotism and sacrifices made by our veterans".
The Heroes Wall not only honors veterans, but helps in the fight to feed the homeless as well. A percentage of the proceeds from each etching sold go to "Feed the County", a program started in April 2003 as a collaborative effort of Catholic Charities Maine, WAGM-TV and Aroostook Federal Savings and Loan to help supply food to the 21 food pantries from Fort Kent to Houlton. Over the last four years these three organizations have teamed together to encourage individuals, businesses and communities to get involved and help raise awareness of the tremendous need for help.
Singer-songwriter Don Campbell was also in attendance with his band and preformed songs from his new album "American Garage" during a special concert at the mall for Veterans and their families. Don, a Maine native, considers this the big time, "We're here performing for hundreds of Maine Veterans - true heroes that walk among us in the malls and on the streets of Maine every day. For me, it doesn't get any bigger than this. I've played huge venues and stadiums - but this is real. I consider this hitting it big".
A driving force behind the project was WAGM sales manager Kelly Landeen. "The emotion that was in the room when the wall was unveiled was priceless," Landeen said, "I feel this Wall is a true testament to our Veterans and how much they mean to everyone in the County". She worked hand in hand with Bernard Lagasse, also of WAGM and his long time friend, and President of Get Etched, Mike Roy. The trio began discussions about the wall a mere two weeks prior to its construction. With the assistance of Northern Maine Community College professor, Guy Jackson, and his students, the wall was created and unveiled in time for Veterans Day. "We now have something to honor our Veterans 365 days a year", stated Mr. Roy during his time on stage, "not just for one". A notion that is very true during the state of war our country is in. We must remember and support our troops during these tough times, not just for one day, but everyday.
The day's events are summed up best by Aroostook Centre Mall manager Patti Crooks,
"To be able to honor our Veterans' of today and yesterday collectively is the ultimate privilege".
The Heroes Wall is an on going project and can be visited at the Aroostook Centre Mall during regular mall hours. If you are interested in honoring the special Veteran in your life you may place an order by going here or by calling toll free 1-877-8Etched.