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96-year-old receives special honor for his service

MADAWASKA, Maine — A resident at Ridgewood Estates received a special honor Tuesday, when the American Legion Post 147 presented Martin Lavoie with a special hand-carved cane for his service in the Maine State Guard.

Lavoie, 96, was one of the first members of the Maine State Guard, before it merged with and became known as the National Guard three years later. Lavoie was no longer a member of the guard when the change was made, making him what is believed to be the first person awarded a cane as a non armed force member.

During the Vietnam War, he was deputy of the Emergency Civil Defense and his duties were to check all the borders in Aroostook County and make sure the bomb shelters were safe and well stocked in case of an emergency. He also scheduled regular air horn tests, according to Paula Gendreau, Ridgewood Estates activities coordinator.

The hand-made cane is one-of-a-kind and has a replica of his badge carved into it.

“I discovered Mr. Lavoie’s story when I was making a scrapbook of our veterans of Ridgewood and made inquiries to get him recognized for the services he performed to help protect the county,” Gendreau said.

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