BANGOR — During a July 21 ceremony in Washington, D.C., U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, presented Capt. David Cote of Bangor with the Military Times 2011 Marine of the Year award.
Cote is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and of Bangor High School, where he earned three state titles as a swimmer. He is an operations analyst with the Marine Corps and lives in Pacific Grove, Calif. Cote was deployed in Anbar province and Fallujah, Iraq, for 10 months in 2006.
He was selected as Marine of the Year for his enduring volunteer work and inspirational sacrifices beyond his everyday operational commitments. The Marine of the Year award recognizes a single Marine each year who stands out because of his or her work to improve the lives of other service members and the communities they live in.
Cote works with Veterans Village of San Diego, which provides medical, legal, social, chemical dependency, mental health and other services to displaced and homeless veterans. He is working on a master’s degree in operations research.
Sen. Collins, who also lives in Bangor, spoke at the ceremony honoring Cote.
“I was touched that Captain Cote hoped that this recognition reflected well on the many things we have in common,” Collins said. “We aren’t just both from Maine. We live in the same neighborhood, and we go to the same church. Tonight, each of those places is bursting with pride.
“Whether they go off into the wild blue yonder, sail at the break of day, or march over hill and dale, whether their motto is ‘Semper Fi’ or ‘Semper Paratus,’ they make all Americans proud,” Collins said. “At one of the most challenging times in history, they have chosen to serve our country. They have gone far beyond the call of duty, combining the virtues of courage and sacrifice with compassion for others. I congratulate Captain Cote on this well-deserved recognition.”
Community service is nothing new for Cote. In 1996, his service project to become an Eagle Scout was collecting more than 1,100 books to benefit children at 22 Head Start centers and classrooms in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. The books were distributed by Penquis.
That eight-month project was a resounding success. Cote and his family recently delivered more than 1,100 children’s books to Penquis Community Action Program offices on Harlow Street, books that will now become part of lending libraries for preschoolers who attend Head Start.
Then 17 and preparing to seek admission to the U.S. Naval Academy, Cote said at the time that during his eight-month Eagle project, he found inspiration in the perennal children’s favorite, “The Little Engine That Could.”