AUGUSTA — The Maine National Guard is more than halfway through a 10-year plan to upgrade the state’s armories and the governor’s supplemental budget request includes the next $4 million to continue those plans, notably in Westbrook and Augusta.

Those were among the comments Tuesday by Maj. Gen. Doug A. Farnham, the adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, who gave the State of the National Guard report to a joint convention of the House and Senate. Farnham said the federal match for the state’s investment would exceed an additional $4 million.

“It is important that we fund our biennial facility maintenance and repair budget at a level to maximize our federal match so our facilities don’t return to the poor condition we had 10 years ago,” Farnham said.

During his address to the Legislature, Farnham also pointed to Maine’s bicentennial and recounted the state’s military involvements over the past two centuries. The guard, he noted, has also been called on to fight fires, provide flood relief, and provide security.

Farnham also called attention to efforts to help Maine’s veterans in the areas of suicide prevention, homelessness and financial assistance. He noted the Legislature recently appropriated $250,000 to veterans with a financial need, and that the funding is being supported by a partnership with the American Legion and Easter Seals Maine. In the first few months of the program, a 92-year-old veteran contacted the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services about his inoperative well, Farnham said.

“He and his wife had no financial means to fix their well on their own, and they had been carrying water in jugs to their home,” Farnham said. “The American Legion coordinated state financial assistance and supplemented the grant by raising the remaining $3,000 to complete the well project. Volunteers from two Legion posts arranged for a temporary water tank to be installed in their home and hired a tree removal service to allow the well driller access. The American Legion coordinated the public and private resources and made a difference for a veteran in need.”

 


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