AUBURN, Mass. – Members of the Major David Brodeur Memorial Foundation gave their final pitch on Wednesday for dedicating a part of the school district to the Auburn native, who was killed in Afghanistan last year.
On July 18, the Major David Brodeur Naming Subcommittee had its final meeting before School Committee members Jeff Lourie and Elizabeth Gribbons bring a recommendation back to the School Committee.
Lourie, chairman of the School Committee, said they are planning to make a recommendation at the Aug. 8 meeting, which would be followed by a vote.
Tim Morse, president of the memorial foundation, said they are hopeful the School Committee will approve dedicating an area of the school system to Brodeur.
“We originally requested them to rename the high school to Major David Brodeur Memorial High School, but we ran into a bit more opposition than we had anticipated, so we have looked at other options,” Morse said. “One option is renaming the middle school when it’s rebuilt, or naming the driveway going into the high school.”
Morse said that Brodeur had his greatest local impact in the school system, and the foundation would “really like to see something done in the educational system in Auburn.”
“Ultimately, we would like to see his name on the side of a building,” Morse said. “We would love for the opportunity for the children that go to school there to learn about who David was and what a great example he was for the community.”
There is some opposition, however, to having a part of the school district named after a soldier. Auburn Historical Commission member Ken Ethier said Brodeur should be recognized in town but not at a school.
“I can’t say enough nice things about the Brodeur family, but I don’t think a school should be named after a military hero,” Ethier said. “We have squares and monuments around town that are named after military heroes.”
However, foundation member Matt Desjardins said squares and monuments can be easily forgotten by the public.
“So few people know about them when they pass by them,” said Desjardins. “Major Brodeur gave the ultimate sacrifice. I feel like he should be honored in the schools, where he made his biggest impact.”
Lourie said the committee will have to look at the financial cost of renaming a school. He pointed to Worcester State University, which had about $100,000 in costs for changing its name.
But members of the memorial foundation said they are confident in their ability to raise funds for a renaming.
Brodeur, a 1994 graduate of Auburn High School, died on April 27, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was on deployment from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska.
Brodeur was a F-16 pilot and instructor with deployments to Iraq, where he flew combat missions during the initial days and months of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Among his commendations and awards are the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, and Combat Action Medal.
In high school, Brodeur graduated with honors. He played soccer and was an accomplished track and field athlete, who won Southern Worcester County League and District Class B individual championships.
He served as treasurer and president of the Student Council and was a member of the National Honor Society.
He also represented Auburn High School at the Student Government Day Program sponsored by the Massachusetts State Legislature. He received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his service to Auburn High School and the town of Auburn.