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WOONSOCKET â€” The news last Saturday that 30 American servicemen had been killed when their helicopter was brought down by enemy fire in Afghanistan touched home with Louise Desrosiers.
She has a son, Luke, 23, deployed with the military overseas, a nephew in special operations, and her brother, Robert Marcotte, is a master chief petty officer in the Navy.
The 30 American soldiers lost in the crash of the Chinook Helicopter included two New Englanders and represented three branches of the military: the Navy Seals and special operations, Army aviation, and the Air Force. The attack also claimed the lives of eight members of the Afghan military and a security dog along with the troops.
Desrosiers spent the weekend thinking about what she could do to help the families of those affected and began to talk about that with friends regarding possible options.
By Tuesday, Desrosiers was ready to act. She made a visit to Harris Hall, the place where Abraham Lincoln spoke with Woonsocket residents before facing his own challenges in the Presidency and a Civil War, and told members of the City Council gathered there she had come up with a plan.
â€śI want to hold a special ceremony on Sept. 9 at the Elks Lodge to benefit the 30 families of our fallen soldiers,â€ť Desrosiers said.
The program is still in the works but Desrosiers said she hopes area military organizations will help her put together a fitting ceremony for the event. Her brother, Robert, also plans to come home to help her with the service.
Proceeds from the evening will go to the Navy Seal foundation set up to help the lost soldiersâ€™ families.
City Council President John Ward thanked Desrosiers for taking the initiative to do something to help. Mayor Leo T. Fontaine also commended the resident for planning the ceremony and accepted her invitation to attend the event.
The city officials noted local veteran group officials will likely be contacting Desrosiers to participate in the effort to set up the ceremony.
Desrosiers said she is planning a simple affair at the Elks Hall with light snacks followed by the speaking program for invited guests. She said sheâ€™d be issuing more information on the event as details are worked out.
Anyone interested in finding out more can call the Mayorâ€™s office at 401-762-6400.