BREWER, Maine — Work continues on a “Fallen Heroes” conference room that also will preserve some of the history of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Mountain Infantry — the only infantry unit in the state — but it will not be complete by the time the deployed unit returns home.
One Bravo Company member returned Sunday and the other 151 members of the unit are scheduled back Dec. 5, Lt. Col. James “Jim” Campbell, executive officer for the 52nd Troop Command of the Maine Army National Guard, said Sunday afternoon.
Campbell also is president of the Maine Infantry Foundation, a nonprofit group created several months ago that includes active-duty soldiers and veterans who came up with the idea to renovate one of the armory’s back rooms into a memorial conference room.
Eventually, the room will include a memorial for Bravo Company soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, including Staff Sgt. Dale James Kelly Jr., 48, of Richmond and Staff Sgt. David Michael Veverka, 25, a University of Maine senior, who were killed by a roadside bomb on May 6, 2006, while serving in Iraq with the Brewer unit.
Members of the Maine Infantry Foundation plan to adorn the conference room’s walls with historic Army infantry items, said Maj. Darryl Lyon, vice president of the foundation. The group has raised nearly all the money needed to change the bare concrete room into a conference room with wooden floors and shelving, but is shy of completing the project, Campbell said.
“We think we need another $15,000 to finish,” he said. “We need to buy display cases and a conference table and chairs.”
Donated items such as photos and documents — many coming from the Maine Military Museum — also need to be prepared for display, which costs money, Campbell said.
Once the memorial conference room is completed, the foundation’s focus will change, Lyon said.
“The foundation will provide scholarships to children of fallen soldiers and aid to families of the unit,” he said.
Those who have historic items to donate to the museum, who want more information or who would like to make a donation may go to the foundation’s website, maineinfantryfoundation.org.