PORTLAND (WGME) — Motorcycle riders and hikers teamed up Saturday to honor Maine’s fallen heroes during Memorial Day weekend.
Saturday was for soldiers with Maine ties who died in the line of duty after 9-11. Their names were written on stones. One of the stones represented Marine Corporal Mark Goyet, who has family originally from Westbrook.
“It’s just great to see how many more people step up to help all of us and help the families who are missing the soldiers,” Jason Bailey, Cpl. Goyet’s cousin, said.
Goyet was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. Since 2013, a non-profit organization, founded by United States Marine Corps Major David Cote called the Summit Project, has taken the stones across the state as a tribute.
“This is how we want to celebrate Memorial Day. We want to honor and sustain the memories of our fallen service members from Maine,” Major Cote said.
More than 150 Patriot Rider motorcyclists left on 200 mile journey from the Elks Lodge in Portland to Baxter State Park in Millinocket. More than 55 stones are making the trip.
In Millinocket, hikers are taking over to bring the stones to the Owl Peak summit. “I can’t thank them enough for how much time and effort they put into it,” Bailey said.
Memorial Day weekend can be a tough for families like these. “You know the years go on, it always gets a little easier. But it’s still always tough. It’s always a reminder,” Bailey said.
But tributes like this show them: “Maine heroes are not forgotten,” Bailey said.