Arrangements not finalized yet
By Keith Regan, Contributing Reporter
Northborough – The community’s sorrow was evident at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen. Even before the meeting began, the room was in hushed silence, free of the usual pre-meeting chit chat. On everyone’s mind – Spc. Brian K. Arsenault, who died Sept. 4, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit was engaged by enemy small-arms fire. Arsenault was only 28.
As the meeting began, Chair Dawn Rand said members of the board had met with Arsenault’s parents, Dan and Leslie, and expressed the condolences of the entire community as well as to offer any support or services they required.
“He made the ultimate sacrifice,” Rand said.
Arrangements remained incomplete, she added, noting that officials planned to get word out as soon as they are finalized.
“We know the community wants to express its appreciation and gratitude to the family,” she said.
“There is nothing we can do to ease the suffering of Brian’s friends and family,” said Selectman Jeff Amberson. “But I am hoping that as a community we can come together to show the Arsenaults what their sacrifice means to us as a community. Until then, I ask that everyone please keep the Arsenaults in their thoughts and prayers.”
Selectman Leslie Rutan said she left the meeting with Arsenault’s family amazed at their grace during such a difficult time.
“One of the most profound moments for me was that Brian’s mother had so many kind words to say. It was almost as if she was trying to make us feel better. They are very kind people in very difficult times,” Rutan said.
Speaking on behalf of the town’s legislative delegation, State Rep. Harold Naughton, D- Clinton, said Arsenault exemplified the nickname of the 82nd Airborne Division as guardians of freedom.
“He lived up to that,” Naughton said, himself a major in the United States Army Reserve who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I didn’t know Brian, but I still feel proud of his service and gratitude for his parents for raising him like they did. I know the town will pull together for ourselves as well as for the Arsenault family,” he added.
After officials spoke, the board observed an extended moment of silence before continuing on with the business of the meeting.
“At no time has the pledge had more meaning,” said Rand.