OGUNQUIT – The crowd fell silent early Sunday at Veterans Park as the names of 65 men and women from Maine who died in Iraq and Afghanistan were read over the loud speaker.

In the crowd of more than 300 people, some broke down in tears. Others held their loved ones a bit tighter.

The names of the troops were read at a ceremony before the Run for the Fallen Maine, a noncompetitive run from Ogunquit to Portland to commemorate troops who have died since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

About 150 people participated in the 40-mile trek to Monument Square, running a mile each or many. Along the 65-kilometer route, there were pictures with short biographies of the fallen soldiers.

One of the participants was Elizabeth Fulton, whose brother Army Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk was killed Oct. 3 in a battle in northern Afghanistan.

Fulton knelt down at her brother’s marker before she began the walk.

Kirk was one of eight U.S. troops and two Afghan security force members who were killed when militants opened fire with rockets, mortars and heavy-caliber machine guns on an outpost.

Kirk, 30, was born in Thomaston. In the fall of 2004, he enrolled in the construction technology program at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. In spring of 2005, he enlisted in the Army.

“I’m walking to remember him and honor him,” Fulton said. “It’s because of him and soldiers like him that we are standing here today, able to do these things. He died for us. The least I can do is walk for him.”

Another participant was Missy Freeman of York, who recruited 14 family members to volunteer at the event. Her husband, Maj. Rodney Freeman, works for the New Hampshire National Guard and has served in Iraq. He stood at a marker honoring 1st Lt. Benjamin Keating, a former Shapleigh resident who died in November of 2006 while serving with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in northern Afghanistan. Freeman said she and her daughter would run the kilometer honoring Keating.

“It’s important that people don’t forget,” Freeman said. “When you send your husband out the door, or your son, or your dad out the door, there is no guarantee they are coming back. I was one of the fortunate ones. My husband came home and all of these families their loved ones didn’t.”

George Tranchemontagne of Sanford broke down in tears as the announcer called the name of his son Daniel Tranchemontagne, a reservist who served in Iraq and Kuwait. While on duty, he learned he had cancer. He died in 2004.

“He was very loyal to his unit,” said his brother Dennis Tranchemontagne of Sanford.

“It was important him so it’s important to our family. That’s why we are here.”

Runners trickled into Portland’s Monument Square before 2 p.m. Sunday. John Mixon, a founder of the event, ran the final 5K and a couple of kilometers along the route. After the race, more than 250 people attended a lobster bake at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. Mixon said the number of runners more than tripled over last year. He said the event raised from $10,000 to $20,000, which paid for the event, including the lobster bake, T-shirts and a commemorative book.

“It turned out great,” Mixon said. “We had excellent weather and a great turnout. It’s been a community effort.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]


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