Fallen Service Members Honored In Fresno
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
Three fallen Valley service members are now part of a Fresno mural that honors those 'Killed in Action'. The mural is at the 'Great American Car Wash' in Central Fresno. Army Staff Sgt. Vincent Wayne Ashlock, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Anthony Edward Butterfield, and Army Pfc. Karina Lau were added to the mural Friday.
"It reminded me of loss and a broken heart. It also reminds me of whom he was," says Army Staff Sgt. Vincent Wayne Ashlock's mother Margot Stengel.
Stengel says her son was a soldier when he was young. He left the Army, but several years later re-enlisted and was deployed to Afghanistan.
"He called me after almost every mission," adds Stengel, "He was dedicated to those young soldiers and it made me so proud."
Stengel says her son was in a tank checking the road for I.E.D's when he was killed. She says adding her son's image to the mural is a great way to remember him.
"I think that having a tribute like this reminds people of the sacrifice," says Stengel, "They can see how close it is and how tragic it is. Every man and woman in uniform has to be thanked because they've all written that blank check that can be cashed at any moment."
Robin Butterfield says her son Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Anthony Edward Butterfield wanted to be a Marine in high school.
"He graduated Thursday night from 'Buchanan High School' and left for boot camp on Sunday morning," says Butterfield, "He went to Iraq in February and he was killed in July."
Butterfield says her son was on guard at a station in Iraq and noticed a propane truck was not stopping at check points. She says right behind her son was where all his brothers in arms were sleeping.
"He drew his gun and they detonated early killing him, but he saved all of the boys in the building," says Butterfield.
"This ceremony is too much for me," says Army Pfc. Karina Lau's mom Ruth Lau, "My daughter was a special girl."
Lau says her daughter was supposed to fly home and surprise her parents the day she died. Pfc. Lau was in line waiting for a chopper and there was a soldier in front of her. Lau says the soldier didn't fit in the chopper, but her daughter did. Five minutes later the chopper went down.
"Ten years ago feels like yesterday and we miss her," says Lau.
The families of the three service members just added to the mural say part of the healing process is organizing events to honor their children and other fallen military members.
Here is more information on memorial events for the three fallen service members https://www.facebook.com/RunFortOrd and http://centralvalleyvet.com/