Our chapter has embarked upon a 2011 and beyond project involving the fallen soldiers of Acadiana.
We will create and name a new, one of a kind, hibiscus plant after each of the soldiers. Once created and named, we will present to each family a framed and named picture of the bloom chosen. Beyond that, we will register the named bloom with the American Hibiscus Society as well as with the International Hibiscus Society insuring that the named bloom could be viewed by anyone anywhere in the world just by using the Internet.
The Fallen Hero Project is the brainstorm of Sandra Theall along with Buddy Short. They are to be commended for such a noble and worthy project. This is just one of the ways the Mike Bernard Acadiana Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society stands above the rest as we salute our FALLEN HEROES of Acadiana. May we always remember them and their families as we thank them for their ultimate sacrifice.
We will publish, with the family's permission, a copy of the bloom's picture and it's name in this space.
ACADIANA'S FALLEN HEROES
It is with deepest respect and honor that we present the first seedling named for one of Acadiana's Fallen Heroes:
MARK WILLIAM GRAHAM
Mark William Graham, a Lafayette, LA. native, died on March 7, 2007 after being hit by a roadside bomb in near Baghdad a few days earlier. He was 22 years old and was married to Stephanie for a little more than a year. He is the son of Kim & Neil Graham of St. Martinville, LA. Mark was a young man whose warmth and spirit touched everyone who came into contact with him. A beloved husband, son, brother, and uncle, Mark played a central role in the life of his family. He drew inspiration from a wide variety of activities from music to athletics, and worked with commitment and diligence to meet his goals.
Mark's mom, Kim, receiving the seedling picture named
"Mark William Graham"
from Acadiana Chapter President Sandra Theall
The Graham Sons (Mark 2nd from left) Mark's image imposed over
list of other fallen soliders
MARK WILLIAM GRAHAM
HIGH VOLTAGE ELDERBERRY
PFC NICHOLAS MATHEWS
Mr. & Mrs. Mathews receiving framed bloom named for their Fallen Hero Son,
PFC Nicholas Mathews, from Sandra Theall and Buddy Short
Sandra speaking to Mrs. Mathews KLFY-TV 10 covered the Fallen Hero presentation to the Mathews Family
The Mathews Family with Sandra and Buddy honoring PFC Nicholas Mathews
even the youngest is there to honor their Fallen Hero
The seedling PFC Nicholas Mathews is a cross of Sassy Girl X Victoria's Touch
PFC NICHOLAS MATHEWS
SASSY GIRL VICTORIA'S TOUCH
PFC DAVID BURRIDGE
PFC David Burridge was 19 when he died on September 6, 2004. According to his mom Yvette, David was a "hard worker and enjoyed helping people. He was not like the average teenager who goes out carousing and drinking. He enjoyed being with "old" people and hearing their stories." She knew that she could always find him visiting with his grandparents.
"When a tornado struck the area, it was David who got in there and rebuilt the shed for his grandfather. Also when he found out that someone associated with Winn Dixie where he worked had leukemia and had set up an area for donations, David signed over his paycheck to the family." When he was born his mom was told that he was an "old soul" and that really was true with his willingness to help anybody who needed a hand as well as his love for older people. David loved art and even helped design and put together a monument made of tiles in front of a school in the Lafayette area.
David left behind a younger brother Shawn as well as a sister named Brittany.
Buddy and Sandra present Yevette Burridge, a framed pic of the bloom named
in honor of her son, PVC David Burridge
Mrs. Burridge has a wall honoring her son Mrs.Yvette Burridge
The seedling, PFC David Burridge is a cross between Rum Runner and Madame Dupont
PFC DAVID BURRIDGE
RUM RUNNER MADAME DUPONT
Today, August 13, 2011, our chapter presented to the Williamson family the latest bloom named in honor of a Fallen Hero.
SGT PATRICK WILLIAMSON
SGT Patrick Williamson is named for their oldest child who would have turned 26 years old today. Patrick, along with 6 other soldiers, were in Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an IED bomb, fatally injuring all aboard.
Sandra Theall, Leon "Buddy Williamson, Sybil Williamson, Buddy Short
According to his dad, Leon “Buddy” Williamson, Patrick was doing what he wanted. “He wanted to be in the Army and be in the infantry since he was in fifth grade”. Some things Mr. and Mrs. Williamson have said of their son...“Patrick embraced life enthusiastically. He was loyal to his friends and a joy to his family. He was an avid student of history, recalling the most obscure facts and dates with amazing ease. He loved the outdoors, pulling pranks, anything to be with his beloved friends. He had a quick smile and friendly demeanor when greeting friends or putting strangers at ease. He was always true to his core values and had a quiet confidence that he carried with humility. With his intelligence and aptitude scores he could have had any job in the Army. He chose infantry because that is where he could experience the best training and make the biggest difference in his mission of protecting America from her enemies.”
Patrick was a 2004 graduate of St. Thomas More High School. His mom, Sybil, said that Patrick was “very dynamic and a very happy person. He would ‘fill up a room’ when he came in but for him there was ‘no place like home’. Patrick loved his ‘red neck truck’. She said he was always doing innovative things with it. When the door hand broke, he repaired the handle by using a rope and a piece of a broom. People don’t know how to get in or out of that truck.”
(Pic from the Daily Iberian)
Patrick was loved and respected by his buddies in the Army also. When he was stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington, he was known as the best cook by everyone. He introduced all of his buddies to gumbo and other Cajun foods. This past Thanksgiving, to honor him, his buddies called Mrs. Williamson and asked her how to put a gumbo together. This is what the guys wanted for Thanksgiving to honor Patrick.
Patrick’s dad sums it up the best when he said “Patrick lays claim to a badge of honor that very few people can lay claim to: having served his country honorably and well. The rest of us can thank him because while the rest of us enjoy the fruits of freedom, he paid the price for it.”
Patrick Oliver Williamson is a true American Hero who represents the most honorable values in our country. He is extremely loved and will be missed so very much by his family and friends.
SGT PATRICK WILLIAMSON
SGT Patrick Williamson is a cross between Cajun Blue Star X Rum Runner.
Cajun Blue Star Rum Runner
“I am proud to serve my country and I am willing to make any sacrifice, whatever it may be. Every time I put on this uniform I take pride in it because I love the American flag on my right shoulder. I have lived free in America for 20 years and I am willing to give up one year so that someone else can have the chance to experience the freedom that we take for granted every day.”
SGT. Trahan in an email to his family on January 18, 2005
The Mike Bernard Acadiana Chapter is deeply honored to present to his family the newest Fallen Hero seedling on Thursday December 1, 2011.
SGT SETH TRAHAN
Sandra making the presentation to Randy and Emma Trahan
SGT Seth Randell Trahan
Sgt. Seth Randell Trahan, son of Randy and Emma Trahan, was born on May 26, 1984 and died on February 19, 2005 while serving his country in Baghdad, Iraq. Seth was 20 years old.
Seth served with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 256th Brigade Combat Team that shipped about 4,000 soldiers to Iraq in November 2004. Seth was remembered as a proud, well-liked and deeply Christian soldier with the Louisiana National Guard.
“I truly believe with my whole heart his whole mission was accomplished on earth,” his mother, Emma Trahan said. “We’re broken and we’re sad, but we’re at peace. Seth loved what he was doing. He loved America and he loved Jesus.”
“We’ve all been through the pain, the shock and sorrow of this week,” Randy Trahan, his father, said. “But just as real are the memories of Seth. And just as real, more so than that, is the eternal life that he partakes of today.”
“The Bible said that there is no greater love than a man laying down his life for his fellow man,” his church pastor, Loyd Singley, said. "Soldiers who served with Seth wrote his family to say he steered them toward Jesus and helped make a difference in their lives."
Seth was an active member of Northside Assembly of God and graduated high school at Northside Christian School, in Crowley, LA., in 2002.
Northside Assembly of God and Northside Christian School built and dedicated a gym in his honor.
Sgt Trahan had received 11 medals during his military enlistment including the Army Achievement Medal. The Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart were awarded posthumously.
We salute SGT. Seth Randell Trahan, one of Acadiana's Fallen Heroes!
We thank you for your service to this great country. May God bless you and your family.
SGT Seth Trahan
SGT Seth Trahan is a cross of Madame Dupont X Cajun Blue Star
Madame Dupont Cajun Blue Star