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Community Remembers James Popkowski 

37-year-old James Popkowski, a 1990 graduate of Schenck High School and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps was killed Thursday by law enforcement officers near the VA Medical Center at Togus.Now, as generations gather in East Millinocket to reunite for school reunions, they also remember Popkowski, a Mainer we’re told was a stand up gentleman.James Popkowski joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school, a move that didn’t surprise those who knew him.”In my opinion he was a very true marine and I’m very proud to see what he had accomplished,” said Wayne Danforth, a high school teacher of Popkowski.For most folks in the East Millinocket area, they knew him as Bing, a guy who lit up a room simply by walking in. “He was very friendly. He always walked in , he didn’t walk in in a bad mood, he didn’t have a frown on his face. You saw him walk in, he was smiling, he was happy,” said Blake Danforth.Senior year, Bing was crowned king. Based on tradition, he would have to come back the next year to crown the new king. He was serving in the Marine Corps, so classmates were worried he wouldn’t be able to make it: but that wasn’t Bings style. If he was supposed to be somewhere, he’s be there.” He showed up right at the last minute in the nick of time. Announcing him, I think he got the biggest ovation of the whole evening,” said Blake Danforth.News of his death spread quickly through the small town, and those who knew him, say the actions leading to his death were not in character for the marine.” Nothing about him would ever hit you in such a way so that you were thinking this is someone who would lead to a situation like unfortunately happened,” said Blake Danforth.” Everytime I talked to him I felt proud to know him,” added Wayne Danforth.” Within five minutes you would have probably considered him a friend,” said Blake Danforth.In East Millinocket, it’s evident many considered Bing a friend.A friend and a marine, they’ll never forget.