Sue and Mike Breton, parents of Brandon Breton, chat with a group from Boy Scout Troop 410 during a gathering to celebrate the life of their son Brandon and son’s friend Joseph Mayo on Thursday at The Red Barn in Augusta. Both men had been members of the Vassalboro-based Scout troop in their youth. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — Brandon Breton and Joseph Mayo were the best of friends.

Inseparable, really.

Brandon Breton, 21, drowned on Messalonskee Lake Monday. Photo courtesy of Mike Breton

“They were stuck together like glue,” said Dominque Andrews, who attended Erskine Academy in South China with them. “It was an inspiring friendship that you’d want to have for yourself.

Breton 21, of Vassalboro, and Mayo, 19, of Rome, drowned on Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade last week while swimming with two other friends off a pontoon boat.

Their lives were celebrated by Andrews and others Thursday during a gathering of friends, families and supporters at The Red Barn in Augusta, owned by Laura Benedict, whom the Bretons described as having “a heart of gold.”

Breton was a business partner with his parents, Mike and Susan, at the family’s Sandy Point Seafood on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Augusta. Brandon Breton was an avid photographer, an artist and always a diligent worker.

“He meant everything,” Mike Breton said. “This is all about him.”

Dominque Andrews, right, hugs a Breton family member during a gathering Thursday at The Red Barn in Augusta. Andrews said that she was an Erskine Academy classmate and friends with Brandon Breton and Joseph Mayo, who drowned recently at Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Breton and Mayo were swimming with friends off a pontoon boat June 7, when a strong gust of wind pushed the boat away from them, the Maine Department of Inland Fishers & Wildlife said. Two men swam to the boat, but Breton and Mayo “went under and never resurfaced,” the department said. Their bodies were found the next day near Greeley Island on Messalonskee Lake.

Officials at the state department did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for any updates on the investigation into the incident.

Mayo’s family previously declined to speak to the press, but according to his obituary, Mayo was born in Boston and graduated from Erskine Academy in 2019. Breton and Mayo “did everything together,” Mike Breton said.

Breton’s parents received an outpouring of support on their business’s Facebook page. The business will reopen, but Mike Breton said it will be very different without his right hand man. Brandon Breton very much kept the business going, according to his father.

About 100 people paid their respects Thursday at the celebration of life, where there was a disk jockey and balloon maker. The ceremony followed a funeral service and burial earlier in the day. The Bretons emphasized the emotional boost they’ve gotten from others during this time.

Mike Breton at a gathering to celebrate the life of his son, Brandon, and friend Joseph Mayo on Thursday at The Red Barn in Augusta. Brandon Breton and Joseph Mayo drowned recently at Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“We have gotten major support from the community,” Susan Breton said. “It’s greatly appreciated.”

“It definitely helps us,” Mike Breton added.

Many of those paying respects chose to keep their memories to themselves.

Andrews recalls fond memories of playing video games with Brandon Breton and Joseph Mayo even before she met the latter in person. The Jobs for Maine Graduates program at Erskine Academy was where she became especially close to Breton.

“In class together it was a great, meaningful time,” Andrews said. “We became so close. He’s such a special person and still is.”

Among those in attendance later in the afternoon was Bob Reed, scoutmaster for Troop 410, who said many Scouts came out to pay respects to both Brandon Breton and Joseph Mayo, who themselves were Boy Scouts between the years of around 2008 to 2013.

“It’s really important for the Scout troop to come out today because both Brandon and Joey were in Scouts, and a lot of these boys knew him,” Reed said. “It’s good to come out and be with his family and reminisce about all the fun and great times we had in Scouts, and it’s good for the boys to give back to the community in this aspect.”

Reed said the Scouting troop “talked about what happened,” following the drownings. Some were young Cub Scouts when the two were in the troop, while others were their peers, he said.

They recalled the good times, such as hiking, camping and going on canoe trips.

“A lot of sadness in this, but a lot of good too, with all the memories that these kids have with both Brandon and Joey,” Reed said. “It’s a sad day, but we’re here for the families. It’s amazing to see the turnout for these two young gentlemen. They touched a lot of people.”

Richard Mayo, Joseph’s father, said at the gathering that his son was loving, caring and quiet.

“I haven’t really processed what has happened and he’s actually gone,” Mayo said. “He was a very good kid, and he was very loved by a lot of people.”

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