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This year's 2012 Grand Marshals

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The staff of the Maine Discovery Museum. Back row: Tina DeMerchant, Meg Shorette, Cory McClain, and Laurie Claverie. Front Row: Executive Director Niles Parker, Kim Stewart, Abby LeBlanc, and Audrey MacLean. The staff of the Maine Discovery Museum. Back row: Tina DeMerchant, Meg Shorette, Cory McClain, and Laurie Claverie. Front Row: Executive Director Niles Parker, Kim Stewart, Abby LeBlanc, and Audrey MacLean.
Maine Discovery Museum celebrates their first decade

Independence Day is a day of remembering our heritage, and part of the Greater Bangor Region's history has much to do with the businesses that helped sustain it.

The 4th of July Corporation, organizers of the annual parade and fireworks celebration, selected the Maine Discovery Museum as this year's grand marshal in recognition of the museum's successful decade since first opening to the public.

For families living in the greater Bangor area, MDM has become one of the major activity centers for children since it began operating in February 2001. For the city itself, the museum has become one of Bangor's major tourist destinations that attracts an average of 60,000 visitors a year.

Built in the lower three floors of the former Freese's Department Store at an original cost of $4.5 million, the museum has treated nearly three quarters of a million visitors in both children and adults alike over the years who have walked through its doors to a variety of exhibits dedicated to learning, discovery and enjoyment.

According to Niles Parker, the museum's executive director, staff members were flattered by the committee's selection. 'We were pleasantly surprised and very honored,' he said. 'We love being in the parade and truly appreciate this gesture by the parade organizers and community.'

Serving children primarily aged 4-12, the museum offers attractions and exhibits that are separated into eight major areas featuring smaller interactive zones. The museum's exhibits try to relate to Maine with components built in for age-specific learning styles.

Also selected as the Kiwanian grand marshal this year is Paul Lucey, a decorated World War II and Korean War veteran who currently is president-elect of the Orono/Old Town chapter of Kiwanis International.

Lucey, 89, is an Old Town resident and native of Taunton, Mass. A retired social sciences and history teacher, he is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and served as a Marine Corps. pilot, where he flew both Corsair fighter/bombers during WWII and helicopters while serving in Korea.

'The Marine Corps. saw the need for this new-fangled machine and I had a lot of hours in the Corsair and needed a change,' he said of his switch from fixed-wing aircraft to Bell H-13 helicopters, subsequently made famous by the TV series 'M*A*S*H*.' Lucey flew the aircraft while transporting wounded soldiers to hospital units during the war. He became a squadron commander and achieved the rank of colonel before leaving military service.

Lucey is a Maine Troop Greeter and belongs to the Maine Corps. League, and he is president of the Koran War Veterans Association of Bangor.

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