By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Two weeks’ training every summer. Weekends of service. Assisting with recovery and rescue missions caused by natural disasters ranging from tornadoes and flooding to fighting wildfires.
Deployment to foreign and domestic military bases to assist in keeping order and peace in the world we know today.
Many of the sacrifices made by Kentucky National Guard not only affect the soldier, but also the families and friends they leave behind. In fact, since 1975, more than 40 members of the Kentucky National Guard has made the ultimate sacrifice — giving their own lives.
To remember and honor those who died in the line of duty, the London Walmart is pitching in to help construct a memorial for fallen Guard members.
Kenny Fields, London store manager, said his employees have been conducting fundraisers among themselves to help with the memorial. But this Saturday, March 22, Walmart employees are taking their efforts another step further.
“We will be hosting a cookout from 10:30 (a.m.) until 5 p.m. this Saturday,” Fields said. “We will have hot dogs, snack cakes, and drinks to raise money for the memorial. There is no set price — we are doing this on a donation basis.”
The cookout will be held in the Lawn and Garden Center, which will celebrate its official 2014 opening that same day.
“It coincides with the lawn and garden opening, so we hope we can draw large crowds to come out and donate,” Fields added.
The London store has a goal to raise $2,000. According to Fields, the tally is only at the halfway mark.
“We’ve had silent auctions, a bake sale, and even the piggy pies,” Fields added. “The piggy pies is a contest to see which department can raise the most money. We have piggy banks with the name of the department heads on them. When the piggy banks are filled, the department head gets a pie thrown in their face.”
With a goal of $100,000 set for construction of the memorial, the London store employees are hoping for a good turnout this Saturday.
“We would love to reach our goal with the cookout,” Fields said. “Everything we raise will go toward the memorial fund.”
The memorial will be constructed at the entrance to Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort. In the center of the memorial will be a black marble monument in the shape of the state of Kentucky. The names of fallen National Guard members who died in the line of duty will be engraved on the memorial. Individuals wishing to contribute to the memorial may purchase a paver that will be laid around the circular structure.
To learn more about the Kentucky National Guard Memorial, visit their website at http://www.guardmemorial.com. To donate online, go to Give@Guardsmemorial.com.