In March 2011, Westminster resident Jimmy Malachowski died at 25 years old along with 10 other Marines in Afghanistan.

His family has been keeping his memory alive ever since. And to that end, a memorial for the fallen Marine was dedicated at Bear Branch Nature Center on Saturday.

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“He said, ‘I just don’t want anyone to forget I ever lived,’ ” Alison Malachowski said last fall, recalling one of her final conversations with her son before he died.

So when Ted McNett, assistant supervisor for career and technology education for Carroll County Public Schools, came to the Malachowski family two years ago with the proposition to create a memorial sculpture — the Luna Moth Project — they gave him their blessing.

McNett remembered teaching Jimmy Malachowski at the Carroll County Outdoor School, back when the young boy was known to be an entomological enthusiast and insect whisperer.

Luna Moth Project honors Malachowski, other fallen Carroll County veterans with sculptures

Ted McNett invited the public to help him and the local blacksmith guild create a luna moth sculpture in memory of Jimmy Malachowski at the Farm Museum on Nov. 10 — as well as create smaller luna moths to be included in an exhibit at the Bear Branch Nature Center in memory of other fallen veterans.

“One of the things he did as a 9- or 10-year-old, is he led an evening insect collection activity,” McNett told the Times, “and one of his most exciting things, that somehow stuck in my head, was he caught a luna moth. And that was sort of the prize for him at the time, that he was able to do that and preserve that specimen.

“And then he was killed in Afghanistan,” he said, “and shortly after that they named the bridge on [Md. 140] in honor of him, his honor and memory.”

Seeing the section of Md. 140 dedicated to Malachowski sparked a bigger idea for McNett, who decided to create a 3-foot-long luna moth memorial sculpture for him out of steel.

“It will be 26 inches from the tip of wing to tail of the wing, and the body of it is 3 inches in diameter and 10 inches long,” he explained outside the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland at the Carroll County Farm Museum last fall.

McNett said the memorial would be “right at the location where Jimmy had done that nighttime insect collection activity.”

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