Long ago, it became part of my morning routine to look at the Department of Defense casualty list and pay my respects to the fallen. This ritual started when my son, a Marine, began a series of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even though little media attention is now given to America’s longest war, 14 soldiers and a Marine have died on the battlefield in Afghanistan this month alone, and more than 6,500 have lost their lives in both post-9/11 wars, with tens of thousands receiving life-altering injuries. It is distressing for military families to have the sacrifices they make for national defense so often forgotten. And that is why my heart was so full of gratitude when Bob Stone handed me a check for $4,300 this week to be used for veteran care.
I founded the Gorge Heroes Club in 2008 and Mr. Stone has faithfully provided funds since that time to ensure that we can take care of troops in the field or veterans who are struggling to find jobs and cope with PTSD or an injury.
I am asking that you take time out of your busy day this next week to thank Mr. Stone for being such a strong supporter of our local National Guard units and others serving from the Mid-Columbia region. You can also leave a message online at www.bobstoneauto.com.
While you are at it, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue and area law enforcement agencies should also be thanked for holding an event on May 18, which is National Armed Forces Day, to pay tribute to the troops and help us raise $1,500 for the cause. Some of these emergency responders are planning a hunting trip this fall for combat veterans, several of whom have lost limbs in combat, and that is just another example of their commitment to their “brothers” in harm’s way. They can be thanked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need to never forget, as a nation, the high price that is being paid daily on a battlefield thousands of miles away so that we can go about our daily lives in peace and security.
RaeLynn Ricarte of The Dalles is founder and president of Gorge Heroes Club.