NORRIDGEWOCK — The town’s Board of Selectmen approved renaming the Norridgewock Bridge the Corporal Eugene Cole Memorial Bridge in a 4-0 vote this week, sending the measure to the Legislature for approval.

According to a Facebook post from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, Republican Rep. Brad Farrin has submitted a bill to have the Norridgewock Bridge over the Kennebec River renamed the “Corporal Eugene Cole Memorial Bridge.”

Town Manager Richard LaBelle on Friday said the town was approached by Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster about renaming the bridge after Cole, who was a Norridgewock resident. LaBelle said Lancaster asked him and the Board of Selectmen to draft a letter showing full support of the name change.

“We thought it was very fitting and very appropriate we name the bridge after Cpl. Cole,” LaBelle said.

Norridgewock also declared April 25 as Corporal Eugene Cole Day in honor of Cole, the Somerset Sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down last month.

Cole’s alleged killer, Jason Williams, was arrested in Fairfield after a massive four-day manhunt. Williams allegedly shot Cole in the early morning of April 25 in Norridgewock while he was on patrol, then stole Cole’s marked cruiser. Williams was scheduled to be in court that day in Massachusetts on gun charges.

Williams made his first court appearance April 30 and was charged with murder. Court documents state Williams confessed to a friend minutes after killing Cole. Williams is awaiting trial in Cumberland County and will face 25 years to life in prison if he is found guilty.

Cole’s death was the first police officer shooting death in Maine in nearly 30 years.

In the proclamation from the selectmen, Cole was “a dedicated member of our community and shall be remembered from this day forward for his service and sacrifice. This day shall be a day recognized in the Town of Norridgewock by performing good works, service to the community, and selfless acts.”

LaBelle said he drafted the initiative to have April 25 be named in honor of Cole shortly after Cole was killed. He said the selectmen asked him to find a way to “recognize Gene and his family and the sacrifice for the community.” He said after a lot of discussions and thought, they approached Cole’s family with the idea of having a day of volunteerism and giving back to the community, “something that really epitomizes what Gene did in our community as a resident and as a deputy.”

The town has also raised money to help Cole’s family. A charity softball game between police, fire and emergency responders is being organized for late June, with all proceeds to be donated to the family. Additionally, bracelets made to commemorate Cole that were sold raised $5,200 for the family.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis


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