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Remembering families who lost loved ones in war


Jun 26 2019
Steve RansomNevada Appeal

Need to know

The June 29 dedication is free and open to the public. To reserve seats go to or call 775-827-9748. David Sousa also wants Gold Star families to contact him at so they can be part of the ceremony. Families should also arrive early at 2 p.m. to be included in the program.

A tour bus carrying veterans who fought in one of the nation’s wars from 1941 to 1975 pulled up to a row of glistening white headstones in one section of Arlington National Cemetery. After the bus slowly rolled to a stopped on this late spring day, about a half-dozen passengers disembarked.

Steven Ward, who moved to Yerington two years ago from Washington state via a two-month stay in Fallon, walked with others trailing him to a specific spot in the neatly manicured grass, stopped and looked around him, and then placed his hand on top of the gravestone. He stopped to see his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward, who died in combat in Afghanistan on Feb. 21, 2010, at the age of 19 during what the Department of Defense called hostile action in the southern part of the country. Eric L. Ward, a fifth generation Marine, was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom as a machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Ward, along with three others who lost a family member in war, will speak at Saturday’s dedication of a Gold Star Families Memorial at the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks beginning at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. In late November, Ward, along with other Gold Star families, participated in an Honor Fight Nevada trip to Washington, D.C., and also to Annapolis, Maryland, where they saw that state’s memorial.

Jon Yuspa and David Sousa, both members of the Nevada Gold Star Memorial Foundation, had started with an idea for Northern Nevada to have its own Gold Star Families Memorial, sought donations and then received help from various organizations and volunteers to construct the memorial, all within one year. Saturday marks the unveiling of the memorial west of the new veterans’ home at 36 Battle Born Way and will feature appearances and speeches from Medal of Honor recipients Hershel “Woody” Williams, World War II, and Donald “Doc” Ballard, Vietnam War.

Yuspa said the Nevada Gold Star Memorial Foundation has been able to work on planning and will complete the memorial by the end of the month.