Sep 18 2020
Main Street Clarksville
A new Gold Star Families memorial monument to honor the families of servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the military is currently planned at Fort Campbell.
Kelli Pendleton, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Kentucky, and Charlie Koon, a 2019 champion of Fort Campbell, have led the effort.
Pendleton said she learned of the memorial from a discussion with a fellow CASA member who is a Gold Star wife.
“Although these beautiful memorials have been constructed in areas all across the country, there is not one near Fort Campbell, and I felt that needed to be rectified,” said Pendleton. “It made sense that this be a regional effort, so I reached out to Charlie because of all the work he had done at the Survivor Outreach Services office on post.”
Pendleton and Koon work through the Woody Williams Foundation on the project. The foundation’s assistant director of programs Cindy Stonebraker, who is from the local area, lost her father in Vietnam. She, along with local Gold Star wife Nancy Mullen, serve as advisors on the project. Mullen became a widow in 2013 when her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Sean Mullen, was killed in action in Afghanistan after more than 18 years of service and numerous deployments.
“This memorial recognizes the profound sacrifice all of our military surviving families and extended families have made, which should never and will never be forgotten,” said Mullen. “Having this memorial located at Fort Campbell also helps to solidify the connection between these families and the military and serves to educate its visitors as to the meaning of the term, Gold Star.”
A website was created to educate the public and potential donors about the Gold Star Families memorial monument, and contributions can be made at hwwmohf.org/monuments/ft-campbell-ky.html. Koon and Pendleton hope to unveil the moment next fall.
The Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation is a charitable nonprofit organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Williams, a Medal of Honor recipient. The foundation encourages, with the assistance of the American public and community leaders, establishment of permanent Gold Star Families memorial monuments in communities throughout the United States, to conduct Gold Star Families outreach across the country, to provide Living Legacy scholarships to eligible Gold Star children, and to advocate for educational benefits for all Gold Star family members.