This month our Lima Company Memorial truck made an appearance at the ninth annual Red Cross Heroes Awards Breakfast at Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio. The event took place on Wednesday March 18, 2015 where, in front of a record crowd of several hundred people, 60 local heroes were honored. The Lima Company Memorial was on hand to give R+L employees and attendees of the breakfast a VIP exhibition of the Eyes of Freedom paintings.
The Red Cross Heroes Breakfast
The annual breakfast has steadily grown since the first event took place nine years ago. Several hundred people packed the Roberts Centre in Wilmington to honor fallen soldiers and local heroes. When this event started several years ago it raised about $200 in funds with an attendance of about 100. This year, the event raised approximately $25,000 with more than 650 people in attendance. The Red Cross will help surrounding areas with the funds raised at the event.
Guest Speakers and Heroes Honored
Several heroes were honored at the event from Clinton and Highland counties. SSG Matt Maupin’s father Keith Maupin addressed the crowd to speak about his son, who was killed as a Prisoner Of War in Iraq. Keith and his family started the Yellow Ribbon Support Center. Originally used for sending care packages to soldiers with a picture of Matt’s face to get more information about where he was located, the center began sending care packages from families to soldiers all over the place. The Yellow Ribbon Support Center has sent more than 23,000 care packages. Stephanie Decker, who was severely injured by a tornado in Henryville, Indiana also addressed the crowd. She was injured because she shielded her young children’s bodies in a basement during the tornado. Her children were unharmed, but she suffered multiple injuries from the debris and eventually had to have her legs amputated. Decker, with determination and motivation is walking with prosthetic legs and even enjoys an occasional rock climb.
A complete list of honorees can be found on the Wilmington News Journal website.
Lima Company Memorial: The Eyes of Freedom
The Lima Company Memorial was founded in 2009. The traveling memorial entitled “The Eyes of Freedom”, honors the members of Lima Company 3/25, one of the hardest hit units in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The memorial, which is directed by former Marine Mike Strahle, includes eight large life-sized portraits of the 23 fallen Marines from the unit. In front of each portrait lies combat issued boots, most worn by the soldiers themselves. You can also read original letters that some of the soldiers wrote to their families, with intimate details of why they choose to serve in the Marines and how much they wanted their families to know they loved them in case they died in action.
The day was one of reflection and a time to pay tribute to so many in the area who have sacrificed their life for the greater cause of humanity. Please take a look at our photo gallery below to see pictures from the event.