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Mike Plummer, a ‘major force’ in Fort Drum’s revival, remembered

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:18 PM EST
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - Friends recalled Mike Plummer Wednesday as the man who helped bring the 10th Mountain Division to Fort Drum, and then made sure the military and the community bonded with each other.

Plummer, 83, died Tuesday at his home in Alabama. He moved there in 2021, after living in the north country for 30 years.

““In the early days it wasn’t quite as apparent that it was necessary that there be a close working relationship as it is today. Mike was one of the people from the army’s side who saw that was very necessary,” said Tony Keating, former Civilian Aide to the Secretary of The Army.

Locating the 10th at Drum, of course, dramatically changed the north country, reviving the economy of the region.

“It was apparent that that was a shot in the arm that we couldn’t pass up. And if we did, there was really nothing else that would ever have taken its place. Certainly not of that magnitude,” said Keating.

But Plummer, a retired colonel who was a keen advocate for Drum, went beyond finding the 10th a home here.

He’s responsible for initiatives which spread nationwide, like the “yellow ribbon” campaign and the “Adopt-A-Platoon” program in which community sponsors are paired with deployed soldiers to send letters and care packages.

When Plummer retired, the future of his programs was one of his biggest concerns.

It’s a responsibility he passed off to friend Joe McLaughlin.

“He finally told me, he said, ‘Joe, we can’t let our soldiers deploy, and not let the community know we care about them,’” McLaughlin said Wednesday.

“He wanted our soldiers to know that the community around Fort Drum cared about them, and cared about their deployments.”

And one other thing: if you’ve ever jogged past the “North Country Honors the Mountain” monument in Watertown’s Thompson Park, you’re seeing one more thing that Mike Plummer advocated for.

As Plummer told 7 News as he moved to Alabama, “I feel very good.

“I can look my mother up there in the eye and say, ‘I think we made a difference.”

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