PATTEN, Maine — The community of Patten is hosting a memorial run in April in honor of a hometown hero.
The Spc. Dustin J. Harris Memorial Mile will kick off at noon on Saturday, April 6, at the Patten Recreation Department. The event is being held on the anniversary of Harris’ death on April 6, 2006, in Bayji, Iraq. Event organizers are referring to the date as his “angelversary.”
The 21-year-old Harris was killed in action by an improvised explosive device that detonated while he served as the lead gunner during a patrol in Bayji, 150 miles north of Baghdad.
The son of Scott and Lorna Harris was born in Millinocket, but grew up in Patten and excelled in soccer at Katahdin High School in Stacyville from where he graduated in 2002.
After graduation, he studied diesel and heavy mechanics at Eastern Maine Technical College in Bangor. He joined the U.S. Army in 2004 and trained as a paratrooper before being stationed in February 2005 with the 172nd Brigade Support Battalion at Fort Wainwright, in Fairbanks, Alaska, according to information provided by organizers. He deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in August 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Proceeds from the memorial run being held in his honor will go toward the Patten Main Street Flags project and the Dustin Harris Memorial Scholarship.
Anyone wanting to run or walk the mile can register at the Patten Recreation Department from 10:30–11:45 a.m. on April 6.
Anyone wanting to be a “virtual participant” and donate without running can also register online. Runners and walkers also are encouraged to pre-register online to avoid lines on race day. Registration can be found by visiting www.competitorme.com
The event is made possible through the sponsorship of Pottle’s Transportation.
The first 75 registrants will receive event shirts; everyone receives a finisher medal, age group and overall awards, chip timing, personalized bibs; and volunteers will support participants all along the course.
The Spc. Dustin J. Harris Memorial Mile is the first event in the newly launched Service and Sacrifice Series Challenge. For more information about the Spc. Dustin J. Harris Memorial Mile, including registration and volunteering, plus the Service & Sacrifice Series Challenge and other CompetitorME events throughout New England, visit www.competitorme.com.