November 21, 2012

Don Simoneau, 60, of Fayette, veterans advocate

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Don Simoneau is an Army veteran who doesn't consider himself a hero.

click image to enlarge

Donald Simoneau, of Fayette, said he is grateful that the World War II memorial in Livermore Falls will be dedicated in December that he's devoted 20 years of work to erect. Over 700 names will be inscribed in the monument.

Andy Molloy/Staff Photographer

Simoneau has been confined to a wheelchair for more than 30 years, the result of injuries after an accident. He also suffers from a chronic blood disorder that possibly stemmed from exposure to Agent Orange while he was stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga., a test site for the defoliant.

But Simoneau continues to soldier on, making sure the men and women whom he does consider heroes receive the honors and benefits he thinks they deserve.

As the legislative chairman of the Maine Department of the American Legion, Simoneau has testified in both Washington, D.C., and in Augusta in support of legislation benefiting veterans.

Most recently, he helped raise funds to support the family of Army Sgt. Helaina Lake, a military police officer from Livermore Falls who was severely wounded last June while serving in Afghanistan.

In 2006, Simoneau spearheaded an effort to purchase flags for graves in veterans cemeteries in Springvale, Augusta and Caribou for Memorial Day. Last May, nearly 400 volunteers placed more than 15,000 American flags.

Simoneau also worked to upgrade the World War II monument in Livermore Falls, his hometown. On Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, two brass plaques listing the 726 men and women from Livermore and Livermore Falls who served in World War II will be dedicated.

"I was brought up to believe if somebody needed their driveway cleared, you shovelled snow," Simoneau said. "If they needed their lawn mowed, you mowed it."

 

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