McAfee to be honored with Hometown Hero banner

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McAfee to be honored with Hometown Hero banner
PFC. David McAfee

NORTHBOROUGH – It’s been over 50 years since Pfc. David McAfee was killed in the Vietnam War.

However, a local organization has been working to honor his service through a Hometown Heroes banner.

Around the holidays, Boros Cares 4 Troops (BC4T) founder Michelle Gillespie received a call from a woman from New Hampshire who had grown up in Northborough and knew McAfee. She expressed interest in having a banner made for him.

“Although his family had moved out of town, we wanted to honor his memory,” Gillespie said.

Since the Vietnam War, there have been three Northborough residents who have been killed in action, including McAfee, Neil Ellsworth and Brian Arsenault.

The friend helped connect Gillespie to McAfee’s sister, Donna Record, who said she would love to have a banner in honor of her brother.

Pfc. McAfee had enlisted in the Marines in February 1968. According to a 1968 article, he returned in July for a short leave before he was sent to Vietnam in August, two days before his birthday.

He died of gunshot wounds from enemy fire on Aug. 22, 1968, in the Quang Tri Province. Serving the United States ran in the family. His father served, as did his brothers.

McAfee liked playing baseball, and he also played football in high school. He graduated from Algonquin Regional High School in 1967. He worked at Wiles Poultry Farm, caddied at Indian Meadow Golf Club and was a member of Trinity Church.

“He was a typical kid,” said his brother Paul McAfee.

He was a good swimmer, too.

Every year, the family would visit Lake Winnipesaukee. Paul and his two brothers would row onto the water, and one of them would swim behind the row boat.

“The town has gone out of their way to do things to honor Dave over the years,” said Paul.

The Ellsworth-McAfee Park is named in his honor. In 1977, the Ellsworth-McAfee Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, dedicated the intersection of South Street and Northgate Road to McAfee. According to a 1968 article in the Northboro Star, the McAfees lived in Northgate.

“Dave McAfee was a good boy, the type any parent would be proud of. He lacked nothing, including courage, and on the 22nd of Aug. this young man, a graduate of Algonquin Regional High School, became Northboro’s second casualty of the Vietnam War,” the Northboro Star article reads.

BC4T is already working on a banner in McAfee’s honor; they are also working to add him to the banner of veterans who have been killed in action and the Purple Heart banners, located in the Town Common.

There are nearly 200 banners in Northborough; Gillespie described McAfee as the “missing link” as the organization couldn’t find his family to get approval and information needed for a banner.

“It is important to Northborough to recognize his service. He was an integral part of the community, lost his life at a young age in Vietnam and should be honored for his service,” said Gillespie.

BC4T is accepting photos of veterans who have lived in Northborough for a Hometown Hero banner. For information on how to participate, visit http://www.bc4t.org/hometown-heroes.html.

Normand Corbin helped research this article.

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