It’s been 2½ years since a hometown boy from Windham passed out on the snowmobile trails of northern Maine. During a December vacation, 15-year-old Kyle Rogers was doing what he loved with family and friends when a patch of ice sent him into the trees. The circumstances proved fatal.

This June 12, Kyle Rogers — born April 12, 1993; died Dec. 27, 2008 — would have graduated high school with his Windham peers. But thanks to fundraising efforts his mother has tirelessly promoted, his memory will endure through the Kyle Rogers Memorial Scholarship.

A country music concert featuring John Berry will be held May 22 in the same spot where more than 1,000 guests attended Kyle’s wake and some 850 paid their funeral respects — the Windham Performing Arts Center — in an extraordinary town turnout.

Members of the wider community recall Kyle Rogers as an especially likable and mature young man.

“He loved his parents so much and was never afraid to show that,” his mother, Sandie Rogers, said. “He was very much a family kid; he loved family gatherings. He had a smile that could light up a room and was mature way beyond his age.”

His parents divorced in 2005; Kyle was 13. The event may have played a role in shaping the solid character so many say he embodied. While divorce can send some kids spiraling down a troubled path, it found young Kyle stepping up to the plate.

“He could do so many things at such a young age,” his mother said. “He just amazed me. When he became the man of the house, he took that role very seriously.”

Like many of his family and friends, Kyle loved all sorts of motorsports and was an ardent snowmobile fan. Kyle loved a winter’s day on his Arctic Cat up north with family and friends.

Tinkering with engines was a talent he showed early on. When a dirt bike gave him trouble he disassembled the entire contraption, placing all of the parts in neatly labeled baggies. But the tragic snowmobile accident claimed him before he could put the cycle back together. His Uncle Woody rescued the project and was amazed at the level of detail and care his young nephew had taken.

Kyle also helped get a tour bus back together that was limping down the road. “Fifteen years old and he helped the bus driver,” his mother recalls. “The driver said he would never forget how helpful Kyle was.”

The bus belonged to singer-songwriter John Berry. Based in Athens, Ga., Berry knew Kyle and the larger family well, since Kyle’s mother, an enthusiastic country music fan, convinced Berry to play his first Maine show in 2004. She continues to promote much of Berry’s business.

Berry remembers Kyle Rogers as a polite and eager young man and a good friend to many. “Every time we’d come to play he was the first to help us unload and the last one packing it up,” Berry said.

Berry did one scholarship benefit concert for Rogers in Windham in December 2009. He also flew up to play a heartfelt song at Kyle’s funeral, “I Can Only Imagine.”

Sandie Rogers said she can’t disclose much about the scholarship details or recipients just yet, but those who applied have been tasked with writing essays about the hardest thing they’ve had to overcome in life.

Kyle worked at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough and Panther Run Marina in Raymond.

“He was not only an employee but a friend I thought would be with us forever,” recalls Phil Michaud, owner of Panther Run Marina. “I watched him grow up; I miss him every day. Panther Run Marina will miss him forever.

“He never seemed like a kid to any of us. He was always just one of the guys, very mature for his age.”

Andy Cusack, owner of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, said “Kyle brightened a room whenever he walked into it. His infectious smile and boyish exuberance was a magnetic draw for people.

“Even as a teen he was mature for his age — a dependable person among his peers and at our speedway. It was a pleasure to watch him grow from a child into an outstanding young man.”

For concert tickets, call Sandie Rogers at 892-9463.

Don Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Raymond. He can be reached at: [email protected]