North Adams Armory to be dedicated to fallen soldier Michael DeMarsico II

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NORTH ADAMS — Just more than five years ago, the city lost one of its native sons to the war in Afghanistan.

Now, as the years-long renovation of the North Adams Armory facility nears its completion, the site will be dedicated to U.S. Army Spc. Michael DeMarsico II, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on Aug. 16, 2012 at the age of 20.

His mother, Lisa DeMarsico, noted that the dedication of the North Adams Armory site was fitting for someone who loved the military from the age of nine years old. The family also lauded the community-focused organizations that are making the armory their home.

"That's been my feeling from day one. I want him not to be forgotten, so this will allow for that," said Lisa DeMarisico on Friday at a press conference in City Hall to announce the upcoming dedication.

A ceremony will be held at the Armory on Ashland Street at 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 11 and will feature several speakers, including Mayor Richard Alcombright and Pastor Dave Anderson.

The ceremony, which will include the unveiling of a stone laid on the lawn of the Armory and a bronze plaque in DeMarsico's honor, will follow the city's annual Veterans Day ceremonies and parade in Veterans Memorial Park at 11 a.m.

The stone will allow anyone in the city to learn a little bit about who DeMarsico was.

"The youth that go in that side door are going to stop at the stone — after I'm not here anymore — will say `who's that?' And their mom or their dad will read to them who [that is]" Lisa DeMarsico said.

Alcombright said Friday he's known for several years that he wanted to honor DeMarsico's memory in this way, but was waiting for the right time. Now, the renovation of the Armory building is entering its 12th and final phase and should be complete in 2018.

In addition to youth basketball, the Armory has become the home of the North Adams Public Schools' E3 Academy and the North Berkshire Academy special education collaborative. The city continues to explore the possibility of bringing in more tenants to the facility.

The city has secured grant funding to secure all of the failed masonry in the spring and summer of 2018.

Alcombright said when he discussed the dedication with the DeMarsico family, their concerns were that the building would be used by the youth and not be sold by the city.

"I just don't see that happening. It's a community building," said Alcombright.

The site will be dedicated to DeMarisco, but the building will continue to be called the North Adams Armory.

"Michael loved the military, but he also loved history, so he wouldn't want his name to take the place of such a historical site," Lisa DeMarsico said.

Adam Shanks can be reached at

ashanks@berkshireeagle.com

@EagleAdamShanks and 413-496-6376




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