AUGUSTA – A medal recognizing Maine servicemen who have died in combat since Sept. 11, 2001, will be awarded to the family of Corey Dan, a Norway soldier killed in Iraq on March 13.

The Gold Star Honorable Service Medal is a new award created by Maine’s Bureau of Veterans Services and approved by the Legislature in 2005. The bureau has also come up with a Silver Star Honorable Service Medal to be given to those wounded during active duty within the last five years.

Peter Ogden, the director of the veterans bureau, said Gov. John Baldacci recently gave the bureau $20,000, which will be used in part toward the program to honor veterans of the war on terrorism.

“This is in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice for what the veterans made,” Ogden said Wednesday. The gold medal will have five small gold stars on one side, representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. The back will have the phrase, “To those who made the ultimate sacrifice from a grateful state.” And the name of the deceased will be engraved there.

“It is pretty much an honor,” Wanda Kilgore, Dan’s mother, said recently. “It helps with the recognition. Does it help the pain go away? No.”

Dan was 22 when he was killed by an improvised explosive device near Ar Ramadi. He was a sergeant with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky. He first fought in Iraq in 2003. Dan enrolled in the military after he graduated from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in 2001, where he focused his senior-year studies on law enforcement.

In a ceremony planned for 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 7, at the Hall of Flags in the state capitol, Baldacci will present 17 families with the gold medal, including Dan’s.

Eighteen Mainers, so far, have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Capt. Patrick Damon, who died June 15 in Afghanistan, was already honored at his funeral, Ogden said. From now on the award is intended to be given to family members at funerals.

Ogden said he is still tracking down servicemen and women who have been injured. Although the number is unknown at the moment, Ogden said he believes more than 50 people in the state are eligible for the Silver Star Honorable Service medal.

Kilgore said she, along with family members and anyone else who would like to attend, will travel to Augusta to receive the medal.

“Whoever wants to join me is more than welcome, friends and family,” Kilgore said.

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