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Ogdensburg residents raise money for Nicholas Sovie memorial

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Two Ogdensburg residents’ dream of honoring a fallen U.S. Marine is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Rena M. Mee and her sister, Ellen Washburn, have raised over $2,000 in three weeks through raffles and donations to build a memorial in Groulx Park at the intersection of Ford Street and Proctor Avenue for Lance Corporal Nicholas J. Sovie, Ogdensburg, who died in action during Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Marine Corps reported the soldier was part of a training exercise on Feb. 17, 2006, when a U.S. helicopter crashed into his CH-53 helicopter during a training flight in the Gulf of Aden in the vicinity of northern Djibouti.

The two sisters were inspired to build a memorial after seeing a letter to the editor published in The Journal written by Mary M. Sovie, the Marine’s mother, in June.

“In the letter, she said her biggest fear was that over time people would forget Nic and what he gave,” said Ms. Mee. “Nobody should be forgotten, let alone people who have given all. And that’s when we decided to go to City Hall.”

Ms. Mee and Ms. Washburn pitched the idea at a City Council meeting in July. The council unanimously approved the memorial.

The money raised will be used to purchase a plaque and granite bench for the memorial, which Frary Funeral Home has agreed to donate. An account was set up at St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union to accept donations for the effort. Ms. Mee said the account will remain open until Nov. 11, and whatever funds are not needed for the memorial will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, Fort Drum, in the Marine’s honor.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of this city,” said Ms. Mee. “It shows the kind of community we have here.”

The plaque will be adorned with a wreath during the city’s Veteran’s Day ceremony. A dedication ceremony will be held in the spring, Ms. Mee said.

Ms. Mee and Ms. Washburn have been friends with Mary and Stephen P. Sovie, the Marine’s parents, for over 25 years, but this something they would do for any soldier, they said.

In 2010, the sisters conducted a similar campaign resulting in a monument and landscaping in Potter’s Field, where approximately 200 people rest in unmarked graves.

“It was just barren,” said Ms. Mee. “With the help of the community, we did that.”

“We owe them — the soldiers — so much,” said Ms. Washburn. “We certainly can’t pay them back for it, but we’ll do what we can.”

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