One Statesboro Family Making Sure Fallen Soldiers Are Not Forgotten

People can buy bricks at J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill to honor servicemen and women.
People can buy bricks at J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill to honor servicemen and women.

Memorial Day is a time to honor all those who gave their lives for our country. While many stop to reflect on our military heroes, one Statesboro family is going one step further to make sure the fallen soldiers are always remembered.

When Colleen Bridges' son, Specialist Johnny Bridges, went to serve overseas in Iraq with the Army's Fourth Infantry Division, she and her husband George decided to honor him with a brick at J.F. Gregory Memorial Park in Richmond Hill.

"George said he wanted to buy a brick for our son," she said. "I thought that's cool."

However, with their son's name etched in the memorial, the Bridges decided one brick was not enough.

"A year ago," Colleen explained, "George said, "I want to do the fallen soldiers. All the ones with the Third I.D."

The Bridges have bought a total of 12 bricks and are about to give one thousand dollars of their own money to purchase more. The family plans to honor each name on the list of Third Infantry Division soldiers who have lost their lives in the war on terror. The bricks mean more to the Bridges than just a memorial. In a way, each soldier is part of their extended family.

"I'm looking at that list like a mother," added Colleen. "Is that my son's name on that list? They're all sons, husbands, boyfriends, daughters. That's how I look at it."

The family says they do not mind making a monetary sacrifice for them.

"They (soldiers) can't be forgotten if their name is engraved in stone," explained Colleen, "and they shouldn't be forgotten because of what they are doing for us."

The Bridges say they can't buy all the bricks at once; however, they'll purchase them a few at a time until all the heroes from the Third I.D. are honored.

To purchase a brick for J.F. Gregory Memorial Park, click here to visit the city of Richmond Hill's website:  Each brick costs $50. The Bridges also hope to set up a trust fund for people to donate money for bricks.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti,