Camp Lejeune community members mourn in wake of tragedy
By MIKE MCHUGH | The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C. | Published: July 13, 2017
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — An area nonprofit is leading the effort to show support of their comrades who died in a Marine KC-130T crash in a Mississippi soybean field while an observance is being planned to honor them.
The Monday crash claimed the lives of 16 servicemen including six Marine Special Operation Command Marines and one Navy corpsman from Camp Lejeune. Marine officials say it is still under investigation.
Simone Maguire, executive board chair of Raising Raiders, a grassroots, nonprofit organization supporting families of MARSOC announced her group will be raising funds for the Marine Raiders who perished in the crash by holding a “pancake breakfast” hosted by Hwy 55, located at 17230 U.S. 17 in Hampstead on July 15 between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Individual meal tickets are priced at $5.
Tickets can be purchased in advance, or at the door on Saturday morning.
Maguire said funds raised will assist affected families “to include but not limited to post-funeral reception expenses, emergency funds, meals, childcare and unexpected household needs,” according to the group’s July 11 press release.
If concerned residents are unable to attend the Saturday breakfast fundraiser but still wish to show their support, Maguire encourages people to donate online. By 5 p.m. Wednesday, $12,975 of the $300,000 goal was raised.
Raising Raiders is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit who is staffed by unpaid, volunteers — many of whom are spouses to members of MARSOC. Donations made to Raising Raiders are tax deductible.
Signs of mourning
Throughout Onslow County, thoughts and prayers going out to the families mourning the loss of their loved ones from area residents were evident by roadside signs, flags waving at half-staff and one neighborhood subdivision lining its streets with hundreds of miniature American flags.
The Holly Ridge Veterinary Hospital on U.S. 17 posted a message on its outdoor marquee stating: “2nd Marine Raider Battalion our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
The staff took it upon themselves to express their thoughts since several employees at the animal clinic are spouses to active-duty Marines, according to the office's receptionist.
In the tidy subdivision of The Neighborhoods of Holly Ridge with its placid ponds and manicured common areas, residents placed hundreds of small, American flags along the sidewalks and roadways while the community’s large American flag in the median circle of Azalea and Wildflower Drive was lowered to half-staff.
Gov. Roy Cooper ordered Tuesday all United States and North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday in tribute to the 16 service members who died Monday night.
The City of Jacksonville will host an observance at noon Friday in memory of those who lost their lives in the Mississippi incident. The observance is slated for the Freedom Fountain located at New Bridge Street and Johnson Boulevard.
Condolences and support can be sent through Care Coalition at MARSOCcares@socom.mil.
Reporter Mike McHugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.