War Monument for NJ Gold Star Families Closer to Reality
$70,000 of the $100,000 needed to build a permanent memorial dedicated to New Jersey Gold Star families whose children don't return from war, has been raised in less than a year.
The monument would be located next the existing New Jersey Vietnam Veterans War Memorial and Museum in Holmdel, according to those spearheading the fundraising efforts.
Vietnam Veteran Terry Fearon of Brick Township jump-started the idea of having a memorial dedicated to Gold Star Families last Fall. He pointed out that while service dogs have a monument, nothing exists for Gold Star families.
"Every day is Memorial Day to Gold Star families," said Fearon during an appearance on Wednesday's "Townsquare Tonight" program on WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310.
Gold Star mother Eileen Daly of Brick Township lost her son, a U.S. Army Ranger in the elite 3rd Battalion, in the 75th Regiment, Sergeant Ronald A. Kubik, on April 23, 2010, during Operation Enduring Freedom, in Logar Province, Afghanistan while leading an assault team. He had completed three tours of duty by age 21. Kubik was a 2006 graduate of Manasquan High School.
"You're heart is broken. You're in shock. You just can't wrap your head around the fact that your child is never going to come home, " said Daly. "He was an amazing young man, and he was strong and independent and he loved life, and he had an enthusiasm for life." She said she's now using that grief as energy to give Gold Star families a voice.
Sgt. Kubik saved 29 lives the day he was killed, including 19 Afghan women and children. In 2013, he was awarded the military's 3rd highest decoration for valor - the Silver Star.
"He has the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star, and now the Silver Star, so he's really an amazing hero," Daly said.
Names of heroes like Kubik will be permanently etched in the monument, that according to Fearon, will consist of a 20 ton obelus of black granite on a pedestal in a tranquil setting.
The monument also will serve as an educational tool for students who visit the Memorial during class trips.
Fearon said charities and Gold Star Families have contributed funding for the project. The Lieutenant Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund recently donated $12,500 to help fund the Gold Star Family Monument.
Donations are tax deductible and can be made to the 501(C)3 online at njgoldstarfamilymonument.org.
Meanwhile, a fundraiser to benefit the Sgt. Ronald A. Kubik Memorial Scholarship Fund is being held Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. at Jack Nicholson Theater at Manasquan High School. Admission for "IImprov For Ron" is $10. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.