An Elkhart solider killed in Afghanistan in December 2013, won't be forgotten by his military brothers and sisters in his regiment.
But they also want to take that a step further and set the memory of Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams in stone. The regiment's association is raising $15,000 to have Williams' name placed on a war memorial in Vilseck, Germany, near where he was stationed.
The name of another member of the regiment, Chief Warrant Officer Edward Balli, will also be added to the memorial.
"We hope to God these will be the last two gentleman to be inscribed on this memorial," Curt Hinton, president of the Second Cavalry Association, said in an interview from Afghanistan on Thursday, March 13.
There will be 76 names on the monument after Williams and Balli are added. That represents four tours of duty for the Second Cavalry Regiment.
Hinton said he worked with Williams for a few months and last saw him right before Williams was promoted to staff sergeant — just weeks before he died.
When asked what he remembers most about Williams, Hinton responded without hesitation: "His daughter."
"I have a daughter as well, and we were proud fathers," Hinton said. "We can wear the uniform as long as you want, but you never stop being a father. Never."
Williams' daugher, Madison, is 6 years old.
Hinton said he saw pictures and heard stories about how the Elkhart community honored Williams during his funeral. He hopes that same spirit will inspire people to donate to the memorial project.
But he emphasized that the association will do whatever it takes, money aside, to get this done.
"I tell you what, his name is going on there," he said firmly. "The association will work it out."
The Second Cavalry Association works to honor members of the Second Cavalry Regiment who are killed in action. One of their main tasks is the care of the memorial bearing names of soldiers who have died.
"It's a dedication to all our brothers and sisters who have fallen," Hinton said.
HOW TO DONATE
Mail a check to 2d Cavalry Association, 151 Sargent St., Newton, MA 02458
Donate online at www.dragoons.org
With questions, contact Chris Golden, executive director of the Second Cavalry Association, at 617-413-5787.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story didn't identify the name of Williams' regiment correctly. We regret the error.