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Nevada's first Gold Star Family Memorial Monument unveiled in Sparks

May 24 2019
Shah Ahmad | News4

SPARKS, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Local Gold Star families were honored during a memorial dedication ceremony as Nevada's first Gold Star Memorial was unveiled in Sparks on Saturday.

"Gold Star" is a term that describes family members who have lost a loved one in military service.

The "Gold Star" first made an appearance during World War One, after being placed over a service flag's blue star, when a service member was killed in combat.

The focus of the memorial is to preserve the memory of fallen military members. It serves as a constant reminder that “freedom is not free.”

“I feel like we’ve left something of importance to help that family and the community heal,” explained Donald “Doc” Ballard, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

Saturday's Gold Star Memorial ceremony featured two Congressional Medal of Honor recipients -- Hershel Wood Williams and Donald Ballard.

Hershel Woody Williams, created his own foundation to help establish permanent Gold Stars Memorial monuments around the country. Donald Ballard, also helps the foundation as a board member and adviser.

Together, they’ve helped dedicate 50 memorial monuments across 42 states.

“They gave up their life saving me,” said Ballard. “And so this, in a way, is me giving back. It’s me thanking the families.”

The Gold Star Memorial monument, which is outside the Northern Nevada Veterans Home in Sparks, is the first Gold Star Memorial to be built in Nevada.