Gift of art honors fallen soldier
Rockland — The mayor, local law enforcement officers, members of The American Legion and family members gathered at Hansen Jewelers Saturday, April 12, to honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Brandon Silk, who died in 2010 in Afghanistan.
Local artist Roger Casey donated a massive copper sculpture to Silk's parents in memory of Silk, who served as a Black Hawk crew chief during two tours in Afghanistan. The sculpture features 25 dragonflies, one for each year of Brandon's life, each perched on a flower and one ascending upwards with crosses on its wings, symbolizing his faith.There are 101 flowers for Silk, who was in the 101st Airborne Division.
Silk was from Orono, but his parents, Mark and Lynn, visited the jewelry store in Rockland to see Casey's work. They were interested in dragonflies in particular. Mark explained they had heard a moving eulogy explaining death through the eyes of dragonflies, which look a bit like helicopters.
The parents visited the store in February and kept in contact with owners John and Janet Hansen and Casey.
At the event, Sen. Ed Mazurek, D-Rockland, read a letter from Gov. Paul LePage to the Silks in tribute to their son's sacrifice.
"Brandon loved life and lived it to the fullest," his mother said. "...It was a good life."
Brandon had been very proud to be a member of the Screaming Eagles, as the 101st are called. He had watched the movie "Top Gun" as a child and always wanted to fly, enjoying his work as a crew chief on a Black Hawk helicopter.
Brandon had been very active, playing football in high school and enjoying hunting, fishing and "mudding" in his truck in his free time. He adored his stepson, Brayden, now age 5.
Lynn Silk said the 101st has been very kind to her in the wake of the loss of her son, calling to check in on her on birthdays and Mother's Day.
"It's hard stuff to observe," Casey said after the event. "It changed who I thought I was. ...It shows me what really is important."
Courier Publications News Director Daniel Dunkle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 594-4401 ext. 122.
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.