Young man shows that one person can help save lives

Photo by Gary Mazoki

by Roberta Barnes

The ribbon cutting ceremony held on September 23, 2023, in Palermo, was for a lifesaving resource added into the Recreational Field, on the Turner Ridge Rd. Family, friends, fellow scouts, first responders and law enforcement officers from Palermo and neighboring towns were present to celebrate this vital resource.

This resource that is beneficial for all surrounding communities is the result of the completion of an Eagle Scout project. An Eagle Scout Project is a community service effort that comes at the end of a scout’s career and must be completed to attain scouting’s highest rank.

The Eagle Scout project Kaleb Brown completed is evidence that one person’s idea can result in creating a resource that can save lives. The project that Brown, senior Patrol Leader of Palermo Boy Scout Troop #222, and high school senior, presented to the Scout Council was for a permanent LifeFlight helicopter pad to be built in an area where it is needed.

Transportation and time are essential factors when critical care is needed. In Maine over 37,000 patients have been airlifted to receive critical medical care by LifeFlight since it was founded in 1998. Just in the past year over 2,000 patients were airlifted. Each airlift requires a safe landing site.

What inspired Brown to take on this project was an event that happened when he and his best friend were each 15 years old. His friend was critically injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver and died on route to the hospital. The only permanent concrete pads for airlifting close to Palermo were in Augusta and Belfast. His mother, Barbara Files-Lucier, assistant scoutmaster who had been a paramedic for 14 years, also served as an inspiration for his project.

When Brown met a woman at a hospital whose daughter had died, it let him know he had chosen the right project. At the ribbon cutting ceremony instead of him cutting the ribbon he asked the woman whose daughter had died if she would like to cut it. She lives close by and had enjoyed watching as the pad was being built.

As with all Eagle Scout projects, Brown’s project required determination, discipline, and hours of hard work to coordinate everything required to complete the project. His first step after the Sount council had approved his project was to get permission to use a sizable portion of the field from the youth association owning that field. After that he went door to door asking businesses for donations.

Brown going door to door resulted in generous donations by local businesses, and individuals that covered the entire $20,000 cost. Once enough donations had been received, he still had to be available to keep the construction of the pad smoothly on track. Eagle Scouts are allowed mentors and community support, but the responsibility of the completion of their project is on their shoulders.

An example of the community coming together and people volunteering time was Brown and family members painting the pad. The painting was after all the steps required for the pad’s construction pad had been completed by businesses and individuals donating their time and materials.

Brown’s project required 500 hours of his time and dedicated work to complete a resource that can save lives. Now first responders in all areas surrounding Palermo have this site keyed into their systems to use when needed. If other landing areas used in the past are not available at a needed time, this pad can now be used.

Prior to the ribbon cutting along with speakers from associations and various levels of government, Kaleb Brown, and his mother each spoke.

While Bown and his mother outlined all that had gone into the project they each gave a heartfelt thank you to all the people who had donated funds, materials, and their time at various stages of the project. They expressed how each person’s donation was important in making this life saving resource a reality.

As Brown’s mother spoke, stepping stones for the commitment required to complete his Eagle scout project were explained, including the discipline required for school grades and his martial arts training.

Kaleb Brown’ s words that summed up this project were, “Hard things are right things.”


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