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February 9, 2015 at 3:37pm

Skanska USA, BCRA partner with JBLM nonprofit for new 2-2 SBCT memorial

A sketch of the proposed Lancer Brigade Memorial. Courtesy illustration

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In just a few short months, the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team will finally have a memorial on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The monument will join several other unit memorials in the installation's Memorial Park, which is located on Lewis Main near the Cascade Community Center.

Groundbreaking is set to begin soon, and a dedication ceremony is planned for the end of May.

"We are currently the only Stryker brigade on the installation without a memorial for its fallen soldiers," said Danielle L'Heureux, a 2/2 spouse and chairwoman of the Lancer Soldier and Family Fund, a nonprofit 501c3 organization. "It's an important thing to make happen."

The project has been in the works since 2013 and is a joint effort between construction company Skanska, design and engineering firm BRCA, their subcontractors and the Lancer Soldier and Family Fund.

Angela Crabtree, a spouse in the brigade at the time, initially approached members of Skanska to ask if they would be willing to help with the project.

"As with each Skanska project, we look for opportunities to give back to the communities that we work in," said Brian Urban, a senior project manager with Skanska who is leading the JBLM memorial effort, "whether it's donating toys to the toy drive, sponsoring and building a gingerbread house to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, and donating services to build a memorial. On top of that, it is an honor to help pay tribute to fallen soldiers."

Skanska, BRCA and their subcontractors have donated thousands of dollars in manpower and materials toward the 2/2 memorial project, and the Lancer Fund is working to raise the roughly $23,000 needed to pay for the granite pillars. Fundraising was slow to start, but monies are now starting to add up. Efforts have included a ride with Northwest Harley Davidson in Lacey last year that raised thousands of dollars; a similar fundraising event is planned for April 24.

"We are amazed and thrilled that Skanska has been able to pull together all the materials and labor at no cost to us," L'Heureux said. "To have it all donated is awesome."

Work on the project will begin soon. "We are in the process of obtaining a dig permit through JBLM, and once that is in hand, the project will be completed within 30 days," Urban said.

The memorial design features a central bench with boot prints leading away from it with two large granite pillars on each side. The names of the brigade's 51 fallen soldiers will be etched on those pillars, and the back of the bench will read "Seize the High Ground."

When it stood up in 2007, the brigade was known as 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. It was reflagged as 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division three years later after returning from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. Current units include infantry and field artillery battalions, a cavalry squadron and a support battalion.

L'Heureux said she hopes the memorial will bring closure for the families of the fallen. "There isn't one place on this installation [for all of the brigade's fallen soldiers]," she said. "Some battalions have a memorial, but it's in their building and not really for everyone."

The group is also looking to raise money to help defray the cost of bringing in as many Gold Star families from the brigade as possible for the memorial's unveiling and dedication in May.

For more information or to donate, visit the Lancer Soldier and Family Fund on Facebook.

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