Three Trekkers will honor Fallen Maine Soldiers as Part of The Summit Project at this Year’s Trek Across Maine
Three-day Trek takes place this Father’s Day weekend
(May 29, 2014)—
On Father’s Day weekend, the American Lung Association of the Northeast will celebrate the 30th annual Trek Across Maine, with more than 2,000 cyclists departing from Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry and finishing at Steamboat Landing Park in Belfast. The event is the largest fundraiser for the nonprofit organization nationwide. In 2014, the Lung Association hopes to raise $2 million to support its mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease at the Trek Across Maine.
While many of the 2,000 cyclists who participate in the ride do so because they have a family member or friend who either suffers from or was lost to lung disease, others ride for the sheer joy of participating in this one-of-a-kind event. This year, three trekkers have chosen to bring even more meaning to the event by remembering fellow Mainers who have died in service to their country since September 11, 2011 through The Summit Project. Andy Charles , Garrett Corbin and Tony Barrett will be carrying memorial stones with them on this year’s ride that have been donated to The Summit Project by families who lost their loved ones. The Summit Project has tasked itself with collecting stones from the family and friends of every fallen Maine hero.
“This year in addition to riding in memory of my father, Bernie, I’ll be carrying a stone with me to honor Army Sgt. Joshua Kirk who was from my hometown of South Portland,” explains Andy Charles. “Sgt. Kirk was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. He met his future wife at SMCC in South Portland before joining the army. While preparing for the ride I’ve been in touch with her and have learned about him and their daughter. She was born just 2 years before he died, and I hope that honoring her dad in this way will be meaningful to her as she grows up. This effort is part of The Summit Project which is a living memorial to fallen Maine heroes. Interested volunteers can borrow the stones and take them on a hike or other outdoor trip. I know that the added weight of the stone will be nothing compared to the price he paid and the loss his family has endured.”
Garrett Corbin of Hallowell who will be participating in his eighth Trek Across Maine this year will be carrying a stone in memory of Army Staff Sgt. Brandon M. Silk. SSGT Silk, who was from Orono, was born in 1985 and died in Afghanistan in 2010 from injuries he suffered during a hard helicopter landing. He was a Black Hawk crew chief, a member of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and was on his fourth tour of duty since 2003. Corbin explains that he chose to ride in honor of SSGT Silk because he felt a strong connection to him based on their proximity in age and hometown – Corbin had already been following SSGT Silk’s story in the news over the past few years and the two share a love of Green Lake near Ellsworth. In addition to honoring SSGT Silk, Corbin also will be riding in memory of his own father, Dr. Roy Corbin of Bangor who recently lost his fight with pancreatic cancer, and to support a close family friend who now suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease despite never having smoked.
“While I have been a trekker since the early 1990’s, this year’s Trek carries more meaning for me than ever before,” says Corbin. “My dad used to meet me at the finish line to celebrate the Father’s Day holiday and the incredible bike trip. This year he’ll be on my mind as I ride the 180 miles across Maine. So will my friends’ dad Frank Callanan who is suffering from COPD and Staff Sgt. Silk, who lost his life right after Father’s Day in 2010.”
Tony Barrett of Harpswell who has been a volunteer at the Trek in the past will be riding for the first time this year. He has chosen to carry a stone in honor of Army Master Sgt. Robert M. Horrigan who was born in Limestone Maine and was killed June 17 2005 right before Father’s Day, while conducting combat operations in Qaim, Iraq. Barrett says he chose to ride in memory of Army Master Sgt. Horrigian in part because he was an older casualty who was on his last mission in Iraq before his retirement from the Army.
“As someone a little older than Army Master Sgt. Horrigan would be today, I was touched by his story and his many years of dedicated service,” said Tony Barrett. “The memorial stone that I will be carrying was selected by his Mom from a family orchard in Belfast. I will be bringing the stone back to Belfast and hope that I can visit that family orchard in which Army Master Sgt. Horrigan played as a kid on Sunday.”
Along with the many family members and friends who will be at the finish line in Belfast to cheer on and greet those who cycled to support the Lung Association’s mission will be the founder of The Summit Project-– Major Dave Cote an active-duty Marine Corps officer, an Iraq war veteran and a proud native Mainer. Major Cote will be at the finish line to greet Charles, Corbin and Barrett and accept the memorial stones they carried with them on the ride. Also at the finish line will be Army Sgt. Joshua Kirk’s widow, Ms. Megan Gavin-Kirk, and their daughter, Kensington.
The mission of The Summit Project is to honor our state’s newest war casualties and the faithful spirit of all Mainers. The Summit Project is a 501c3 organization. Those interested in learning more should visit http://mainememorial.org/ or contact Major Cote at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the Trek across Maine, to register, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit Trekmaine30.org. You may also visit the website to learn more about the American Lung Association of the Northeast’s other bike treks in Cape Cod and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.