Weatherford Democrat

November 15, 2012

Keeping soldiers' memories alive

Sally Sexton
CNHI

WEATHERFORD — Kaye Jordan knows what it’s like to lose a loved one in combat.

Her son, Austin Staggs, was killed during an attack in Afghanistan in 2010.

As a way to honor his memory, Jordan and other mothers, part of the Gold Star Mother’s Club, have enlisted the city’s help to create and display banners honoring fallen soldiers of the Weatherford area.

The Gold Star organization, created as a support system for mothers who have lost children who were in the military, raised the idea of honoring local fallen soldiers at a Weatherford city council meeting a few months ago.

“We started this because it’s very important to us,” Jordan said.

The organization came up with the design and also handled the cost of the banners, which were displayed around the courthouse last week in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Weatherford Fire Department Division Chief of training Jonathan Peacock served as the liaison between Gold Star and the city, and was instrumental in the execution of the idea.

“The timing of it was amazing, because while [Gold Star] was coming up with the idea, the city manager was wanting to recognize those families,” Peacock said. “We were able to get the banners approved [by the city] and blessings to [city manager Jerry Blaisdell] for pushing it through.”

So far, five fallen soldiers have been honored — Staggs, Clayton Beauchamp, John Savage, Joe Robinson and Jeffery Hartley.

“If you have someone that you’ve lost in that manner, you’re always aware of things like that,” Peacock said. “If you haven’t, it’s easy to forget about our veterans. This brings the war home and makes us realize that we are losing kids, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, whoever.

“And it’s still going on.”

The project has impacted Peacock on a more personal level as well. He served in the Army from 1988 to 1992.

“From my standpoint as a vet, it’s bittersweet. On the sweet side, we’re recognizing they’re there. But the sad part is also that they’re there because they’re gone,” he said. “Parker County is definitely a very proud county and I’m glad Weatherford has gotten together to support this group.”

Gold Star Mothers, as well as the City of Weatherford, are encouraging any local families that have lost loved ones in service to contact Jordan at 817-599-8998.

The organization has future plans to reach out to the military community, from donations for a memorial to a county registry.