Submitted by Dirty Daves

The Woody Williams Foundation (WWF), in conjunction with the Gold Star Memorial Foundation Lacey, will unveil the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Lacey on March 31 at 12 p.m. at the Lacey Civic Plaza located at 521 Sleater Kinney Road SE in Lacey.

The monument honors service members who died as a result of service to their country, on and off the battlefield, and their families. The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Honors, Recognizes and Serves Gold Star Families and the legacy of their Loved Ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Our Gold Star families gave up everything for us, and today we get the opportunity to give those families a permanent location to honor their fallen heroes and keep their memories alive,” said Lacey City Councilman Michael Steadman, who is also part of the committee that helped raise funds to make the monument possible. “Lacey is a military community and deserves a dedicated place for family members to gather, share stories and remember their loved ones. For generations to come, this will be a place for residents across Thurston County and the state to visit and acknowledge the sacrifices our service members and Gold Star families made – and continue to make – to keep us safe.”

Steadman also pointed out that even though the creation of the committee and effort to raise funds for the memorial started in the pandemic, the Woody Williams Foundation, local leaders, businesses and citizens from across the city came forward to support the project – from getting the paperwork filed, to donating and raising funds needed to build the memorial.

group Gold Star Memorial Foundation volunteers and organizers in behind a photo of the future Gold Star Memorial in Lacey
The Gold Star Memorial Foundation of Lacey broke ground on the memorial over three years ago. Stalled by the pandemic, the memorial is ready to be unveiled and dedicated on Friday, March 31. Photo courtesy: Gold Star Memorial Foundation

“On behalf of the hundreds of Gold Star families in the community, I want to thank the Woody Williams Foundation for all their support and leadership in creating sacred spaces for those of us who lost a family member as a result of serving their country,” said Kamber Good, who lost her husband due to chemical exposure during his years of service in the Iraq War and also served as a volunteer on the committee that organized the monument fundraising effort. “This memorial represents not just those who died on foreign soil fighting wars, but also those who brought the war home with them. This place will let us reflect on those we lost and take stock of all the blessings we have because of their service to our country.”

Good also pointed out that the rate of service member suicide is incredibly high in the region. “Those wounds, even though they aren’t visible, need to be recognized and the Gold Star families left behind need a special place to celebrate their lives and connect with others facing the same emotional journey,”

Alex Nauert, director of programs at the Woody Williams Foundation, who will speak at the unveiling event, was a key part of the collaboration that brought the monument to fruition.

workers pouring concrete for the foundation of the Gold Star Memorial in Lacey
Weather permitting, the group was finally able to get a foundation poured. The monument had been ready and waiting for install for months. This was a huge milestone for the group! Photo courtesy: Gold Star Memorial Foundation

“We are honored to have patriotic Americans reach out to us to acknowledge Woody’s service and legacy and take steps to keep his dream alive through fulfilling his mission to create spaces and places that give Gold Star families a place to remember their loved ones lost while in service to our country,” said Nauert. “The monument, and all the tireless work to make it reality, signals to Gold Star families that, on and off the battlefield, we do not leave anyone behind and that we will continue to honor their loved ones and them for their ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms.”

The Woody Williams Foundation is a charitable 501c(3) organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. The Foundation encourages, with the assistance of the American public and community leaders, establishing permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the United States, conducting Gold Star Families Outreach across the country, and providing Living Legacy scholarships to eligible Gold Star Family members.

The dedication event will take place at the Lacey Civic Plaza on March 31 at 12 p.m. with speakers that will also include local Gold Star family members, city council members and other officials. To RSVP for the event, visit the website and scroll down to the “RSVP here” button.

man saluting next to the Gold Star Families Memorial
The monument in Lacey is one of many Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments all over the country. Thanks to the dedication and support of the Woody Williams Foundation. Photo courtesy: Gold Star Memorial Foundation

Following the memorial’s unveiling, there will be an evening gala and fundraiser at the Lacey Community Center celebrating the families and their loved ones who lost their lives in service to others. Residents can purchase bricks with their name or the name of their fallen family member that will be placed at the monument site, purchase raffle tickets, or simply give a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation. Residents can buy tickets to the gala on the website. All funds raised will be used to maintain the monument.

Lt. Gov. Denny Heck, who is also a Gold Star family member, will speak at the gala event.

“Our values and mission are aligned with that of our parent organization’s mission statement, which states, ‘To honor, recognize, and serve the Gold Star Families and the legacy of their loved ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.’” said Steadman. “This monument will memorialize our mission and show our gratitude to America’s heroes.”

For more information on the Gold Star Families Memorial in Lacey, visit the website.


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