By David M. Fitzpatrick
Of The Weekly Staff
The Bangor Daily News presented a check for $2,218.55 to the Maine Infantry Foundation last week, thanks to the support of advertisers in the BDN’s annual Veterans Day supplement, Day of Remembrance.
“The Bangor Daily News is always interested in promoting and supporting our veterans,” said BDN Assistant Director of Sales Brian Cotlar. “We felt a great way to further that support would be to offer a percentage of the ad sales to an organization that supports veterans.”
The Day of Remembrance supplement, which has been published right around Veterans Day since 2005, highlights the personal stories of courage and sacrifice by American servicemen and servicewomen. This year’s donation was a natural fit with the company’s ongoing charitable giving.
“It’s really important for us to give back,” Cotlar said. “It’s important to give back to the community and especially to folks who serve us in the United States Armed Forces.”
But, he said, it was the advertisers who made it possible. The page counts of special sections are driven by advertising, so those businesses made it possible to tell those stories — and to enable the donation.
“This isn’t just a gift from the Bangor Daily News — it’s a donation from every business owner who participated by taking out an ad in the supplement,” Cotlar said.
“It’s an amazing gift from the people of the Greater Bangor area and the businesses that supported the supplement,” said Maine Infantry Foundation President Darryl Lyon. “The people in our area are so giving and they’re so supportive of our veterans in the area. I’m humbled by this kind of outpouring.”
The Maine Infantry Foundation recognizes the sacrifices of today’s infantrymen through charitable giving or through its emergency fund for soldiers in need.
“In the event that a soldier needs some help, we can write a quick check and help them through their rough times,” Lyon said.
Following the deaths of two soldiers in Iraq in 2006, the MIF worked on building the Memorial Room at the Brewer Armory. The room is decorated with infantry memorabilia, historic photos and monuments, and serves as a meeting room. The MIF began construction around 2010 — piecemeal, raising a bit of money at a time until the project was completed.
The importance of the foundation, Lyon said, cannot be understated, given Maine’s long history of providing infantrymen.
“The preponderance of soldiers that this state has ever sent into combat, going all the way back to the Civil War, has always been infantrymen,” Lyon said.
The MIF can look forward to continued support from future Day of Remembrance supplements.
“We’ll be happy to do it again next year,” said Cotlar.
To learn more about the Maine Infantry Foundation, visit MaineInfantryFoundation.org.