The small upstate New York village of Saranac Lake has honoured Australian soldier Captain Paul McKay, who died in sub-zero conditions on a mountain in January.
A group of eight, including Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau and the Australian Army’s Major Cameron Satrapa, scaled Scarface Mountain on Friday morning to the site where Capt McKay’s body was found.
They gathered some rocks together to create a cairn memorial and placed a blue ribbon and a poppy on it.
“We said some prayers and toasted Capt McKay with some Australian beer,” Mr Rabideau said.
“It was a nice, simple, solemn service.”
An Anzac Day service, attended by 150 people, was then held at Saranac Lake’s World War I memorial where the Australian anthem was sung and the Ode of Remembrance read.
The residents of Saranac Lake, located near the Canadian border, were heartbroken when Capt McKay’s body was found on the mountain after an intense two-week search.
Capt McKay, 31, from Adelaide, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress after a tour of Afghanistan and from a hotel room in the area emailed his father in Australia to say he was leaving all of his possessions to him.
Capt McKay, without the appropriate gear, then scaled Scarface Mountain in minus 28C and blizzard conditions.
Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw ruled the death a suicide.
An autopsy found he died from arrhythmia due to hypothermia.
Capt McKay’s parents, John and Angela, plan to visit the village in June and will dedicate a bench at the base of the mountain to their son.
Saranac Lake declared Friday Anzac Day for PTS Awareness.
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467