BANGOR – Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, yellow “Support Our Troops” magnets have appeared on the rear bumpers of many vehicles and have become a sign of times.
The Maine Air National Guard, also known as the MAINEiacs, has printed its own ribbon magnets, as a fundraiser for their family services program.
The green Air Guard magnet personalizes its message – “I Support the MAINEiacs” – and bears the names of the three Maine wings: the 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor, the 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron and 265th Combat Communications Squadron, both in South Portland.
The magnet sale proceeds will benefit the local family services program headquartered in Bangor, which provides support to guard members and their families. The program runs entirely on donations.
“This is a way for us to build our own esprit de corps for the 101st,” Lt. Col. Mark Tuck, family services coordinator, said Monday. “And also a way for parents, grandparents and other family members to show their support.”
The family services group made 500 magnets and began selling them for $5 during their drill weekend in the middle of October.
After just a few weeks of sales, only one-third of the magnets remained as of Monday, Tuck said. The magnets have been sold only at the base so far, and as of yet, there are no intention of selling them in local stores.
“I sold them at the chow hall as people lined up to get food,” Tuck said, with a chuckle.
Col. Stephen Atkinson, wing commander in Bangor, said he bought a magnet for both his wife and daughter.
“They were more than happy to put it on their cars,” Atkinson said. “I think [the sale] will be wonderful if people want to support our efforts and support the Air Force.”
The family services program offers financial and emotional support to its members. The group organizes family days, youth camps and support for families during deployment.
“In an active duty base, there’s all kinds of services anyone could ever want or need, but our people don’t always have that,” Maj. Debbie Kelley, community manager at the Bangor wing, said.
Since the MAINEiacs have members all over the state, Tuck said he expects the magnet to pop up on cars in every corner of Maine.
For more information about the magnets, call the family services program at 990-7494.