Bow senior hopes to honor Ouellette brothers with school project

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 04-20-2023 5:03 PM

When Bow senior Cole McLaughlin was tasked with coming up with his high school senior project, his mind immediately went to where he spent so much time over his four years as a Falcon: the football field.

A four-year varsity player, he was part of a program that finished 9-2 this past season, losing to Pelham in the Division II semifinals, a loss that ended McLaughlin’s high school football career.

But he wanted to leave a mark off the field that would last. He was good friends with Nick Ouellette, his teammate who died in a car accident with Ouellette’s brother Gavin in September 2021, and the Ouellette family started a scholarship last year to honor them. McLaughlin wanted to try to help out.

He’d seen a fundraiser at the Fire Academy in Concord where people could buy bricks and have names engraved on them for a patio. He wanted to replicate that at Bow.

“(The bricks are) left there forever,” McLaughlin said. “I figured that would be a great fundraiser to do for my friend who passed.”

The Ouellette family created the scholarship fund last year to keep the memories of Nick and Gavin alive and pay it forward to a community that supported them immensely throughout this tragedy.

“My biggest fear has been, since the accident, that my boys will be forgotten,” said Jenn Ouellette, Nick and Gavin’s mother. “Through the accident, we realized what an amazing community we have and how much support we had. We want the boys to be always remembered. We want their names to be said. We also want to show the community how grateful we are because we could never tell every individual thank you, and we’re so thankful. So we thought, this is giving back to the kids in Bow.”

McLaughlin’s project aims to further support the cause. He’s set a goal to have 495 engraved bricks to create a 10-by-10 patio next to the concession stand at the football field. Bricks are on sale through this Sunday.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

‘Where they go, I don’t know’ – Concord police clear backyard encampment along train tracks
Loudon police chief resigns, takes new job as patrolman in Gilmanton
Hiking bunny continues to bring joy to family after loss
Hopkinton family donates 455 acres for land conservation
Concord’s Railyards and Isabella apartments near completion; not yet ready for tenants
Chichester animal rescue Live and Let Live Farm stripped of pet vendor license amid bitter feud with Department of Agriculture

After that deadline, he hopes to have the bricks within six weeks, so the patio can be put together before graduation in June.

“I hope it leaves something that everyone can not only enjoy, but future seniors can contribute to,” he said. “I set it up purposefully so that if, in the future, a senior wanted to do a similar project and wanted to add onto the patio, that could be easily done.”

Bow athletic director Mike Desilets worked with McLaughlin to approve the project, since it will impact part of one of their athletic fields. The location, mostly dirt and beat up grass at this point, is a high-traffic area for fans who attend Bow athletic events, so the beautification is surely welcomed.

But the meaning behind this moves further than that.

“Not all senior projects have the longevity of this one,” Desilets said. “Some of them are fairly short lived, but this is one that will be viewed differently I think just because of the significance of it. I fully expect that it’s going to be supported quite well in the community.”

McLaughlin’s aunt, Stephanie, who runs a marketing agency in Manchester, has helped accelerate the effort by building a website where people can learn more about the project and purchase bricks for the patio.

“I think Cole set himself an audacious goal, and I’m thrilled to be able to support him in his pursuit of this goal,” she said. “I hope the community turns out in force to support this great effort.”

Along with additional help from local landscaping companies, McLaughlin’s pulling out all the stops to make sure the operation is a success and the Ouellette legacy continues to live on.

“I’m really proud of him,” Ouellette said. “It was a really thoughtful thing. He played football with my son, so he was pretty close to him, and the passing of my older son definitely would’ve affected him.”

“I’m sure it caused him some emotions too, and he fought through that because he wanted to help my boys’ scholarship and give something to the community.”

As of Wednesday morning, McLaughlin has sold about 180 bricks. Anyone who wishes to buy a brick can visit FalconsFlyForever.com.

]]>