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1st Brigade memorial gets funding boost

Credit union presents $10,000 donation

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POSTED: August 26, 2009 9:15 a.m.
Photo by Lauren Hunsberger/

Col. Roger Cloutier, left, AUSA representative Laura Rittenhouse and Michael Hall with Navy Federal Credit Union pose Tuesday afternoon in the Raider Brigade headquarters after a check presentation ceremony.

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In an effort to reiterate how important it is to remember fallen soldiers, Laura Rittenhouse, on behalf of the Coastal Empire chapter of the Association of the United States Army, accepted a $10,000 donation from the Navy Federal Credit Union, which she then passed on to Col. Roger Cloutier to help fund the Raider Brigade Fallen Soldier Memorial.
Credit union representative Michael Hall, standing with a group of about 20 Fort Stewart soldiers, said Navy Federal wanted to donate the money to show its appreciation for a group of people who spend their lives and careers giving to others.
“First, let me thank you guys for your commitment and the sacrifices you all make on an everyday basis,” Hall said. “Navy Federal is proud to present the $10,000 check to the memorial, and we’re more than happy to be here today and to be able to give something back.”
Rittenhouse said the $100,000 memorial project will be outside the new 1st Brigade headquarters, which is currently under construction.
“Right now, it’s consisting of 75 names of soldiers who have fallen in the 1st Brigade” Rittenhouse said.
She said donations are still being accepted for the project, which already has about half of the needed funding.
“It gets us a lot closer to breaking ground,” she said.
Cloutier said he’s grateful to both entities involved in the donation.
“It’s a surprise and a huge blessing,” Cloutier said. “I just want to say on behalf of all our soldiers ‘thank you so much.’ It means more to us than you know.”
Cloutier said while they currently have a 1st Brigade memorial outside of headquarters, it’s small and doesn’t offer the kind of presence Cloutier envisions for the families of soldiers.
“We have not had a place, a sanctuary where families could come and not only celebrate what their soldiers have done, but grieve and remember the sacrifice that they made,” he said.
Although the check moves the project along, the memorial is still in the beginning stages.
“Our intent is to dedicate it when we redeploy in January 2011. That’s our goal,” Cloutier said.
 

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