Governor LePage Helps Dedicate Trail to Fallen Presque Isle Marine
October 7, 2011
Augusta, Maine – On a crisp autumn morning in Aroostook County, Governor Paul LePage, along with local family members, helped Friday to dedicate a hiking trail at Haystack Mountain, Castle Hill, to the memory of a fallen Iraq marine born in Presque Isle.
Governor LePage, along with parents, Judd and Geni Libby, and brother, Chris Libby, uncovered an engraved granite trail marker dedicated to Cpl. Dustin J. Libby, 22, who was killed in a fire fight. They also uncovered a plaque dedicated to the young U.S. marine that was to be placed later that morning on a bench at the summit of the trail, part of a 215-acre area owned and managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, under the Maine Department of Conservation.
“Freedom is not free,” Governor LePage said during remarks at the dedication ceremony, noting that Libby “gave his life for his family, his town, his state and his nation.
“When Dustin joined the U.S. Marines, we entrusted our personal and national freedom” to him, the governor said. Governor LePage also spoke personally with the immediate Libby family members about their sacrifice.
Commissioner Bill Beardsley of the Maine Department of Conservation assured the Libby family and friends that “we will care for the trail we dedicate today as if it were for our own son.”
Dustin J. Libby was born Jan. 4, 1984, in Presque Isle and graduated from Presque Isle High School’s Adult Education Program, Class of 2003. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps, graduating February 2004 with a meritorious promotion to private 1st class.
Libby went on to serve proudly with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Echo Company, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He was deployed almost immediately to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in the summer of 2004 and returned that fall.
Libby’s last deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom brought him back to Ar Ramadi, Iraq, where he led a squad of 12 men.
Cpl. Dustin J. Libby, 22, died Dec. 6, 2006, in honorable service to his country during a fire fight while stationed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.
A bill proposed by State Rep. Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton), and co-sponsored by eight state representatives and one state senator, directed that the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands dedicate the trail in Libby’s memory. The Maine Legislature passed the bill in March, and Governor LePage signed the bill in April.
Friday’s event was well attended by about 50 people, including family members and friends, area legislators, including Rep. Willette, park staff, and a contingent of U.S. marines, both current corps members and veterans.
Will Harris, BPL director, welcomed the guests, noting the appropriateness of dedicating the trail to Libby’s memory. He also noted the donation by Maynard Brothers General Contracting of Presque Isle for the stone on which the engraving has been placed for the trailhead stone marker. The donated engraving was completed by Aroostook Monuments of Presque Isle. The Rev. Lucy Lovely of the Castle Hill Advent Christian Church, gave both an invocation and a dedication.
In a special salute, members of the Loring Jobs Corps honor guard posted the American and Maine state flags, leading the participants in the Pledge of Allegiance.