December 22, 2010
Contact:  Matthew Dunlap & Charles Summers, Jr.

Bangor Office of the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles Dedicated in Memory of S/Sgt Brandon Silk

BANGOR, MAINE—Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap and Secretary of State-Elect Charles E. Summers, Jr. were joined by Bureau of Motor Vehicles staff, law enforcement representatives, representatives of state and federal government, and the family and friends of Staff Sergeant Brandon Silk to dedicate the newly renovated Motor Vehicle office in Bangor in Silk’s memory.

?This is an opportunity to come together as a community and recognize that what has made us so strong is not only the sacrifice of brave soldiers like Brandon Silk, but the strength that we find together in the face of such a loss,? Dunlap said.

Featured speakers included the Reverend Bruce Stevens of the Old Town United Baptist Church and Captain Matthew Hodges of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, Silk’s commanding officer in Afghanistan.

Dignitaries taking part in today’s ceremony included CW2 Corey Scott from the Maine Army National Guard; representatives of the Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s Office of Investigation; Maine State Police; Maine Warden Service; Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office; the Orono Police Department; U.S. Marshall for Maine, Noel March; State Senator and Senate Majority Whip Deb Plowman, R-Penobscot; representatives of the offices of Senator Susan Collins; Senator Olympia Snowe; and U.S. Representative Michael H. Michaud, who were unable to attend in person because of their obligations in the nation’s capitol.

The son of BMV Senior Detective Mark Silk and Lynn Silk, principal at Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford, Staff Sergeant Brandon Silk turned down a promotion so he could continue flying as a crew chief on a Blackhawk helicopter with the crew he had trained. Silk was killed in action on June 21, 2010.

?We came together as a community and thought this dedication well represented the strength and support that has been so evident in the wake of Brandon?s loss,? said Dunlap. ?It?s more than just a memorial?it?s a testimonial to how we stand together as a family, as a community, and as a country, and to acknowledge the gifts that Brandon Silk and all who have gone before him have given us?the gifts of freedom and peace.?

Pastor Stevens and Captain Hodges spoke of Sgt. Silk and how much his good humor, strong faith and commitment to his fellow soldiers made him stand out. “Things would go wrong, and he would calmly face them, and then announce the new flavors of ice cream available at the mess hall; ‘I just thought someone would like to know,’ he’d say with a big grin,” reflected Hodges. Pastor Stevens reflected on the enormous outpouring of grief and support in the days and weeks after news of the loss reached Silk’s hometown of Orono. “The signs that said ‘Welcome Home, Brandon’ went on for miles,” he said, and then produced one at the ceremony that had finally blown down off a utility pole and that Pastor Stevens had rescued. “He was, and is, a big part of this community.”

Secretary-Elect Summers, a commander in the Naval Reserve who also has served in active duty in Iraq, spoke with great passion of the appreciation that service members overseas have for such shows of support, and the importance of remembering those who have gone before. “I’ve been there, when those small remembrances from home keep you going,” he said. “And this memorial, now, is someplace where the family and all of us can always return to, and it will only grow in importance to us as time goes by.”

Dunlap and Summers concluded the ceremony by unveiling the memorial plaque, which is framed by a series of photographs of Maine taken by Mark Silk in reflection of those things that Brandon Silk loved about Maine and that he fought for. “Here are the things that our brave soldiers fight and die for,” said Dunlap. “Peace and prosperity for our children, and the opportunity for a peaceful transition of power that other countries could only marvel at. We are very lucky, indeed.”