Sacramento, California - Everyone grieves over all our fallen soldiers fighting for freedom and justice throughout the world. But not all are in a situation to give back to the families affected by such deep personal losses.
When Tony Baumgartner of System Pavers learned about S.O.S., a federally funded program to provide help to families of fallen military personnel, he sought for opportunities for System Pavers to give back. As he puts it, he was lead to Rinda Pope.
Rinda’s son Alex was serving in Iraq in 2007 when the tank he was driving hit a large explosive device, killing all members of the crew, including Alex at the young age of 19. Clearly there are no words for the loss military families feel when loved ones don’t come home. And for Rinda this loss was coupled with other life changes hitting at the same time. Yet she rose above the challenges she faced and was starting over in a new home.
When Tony met her, she had just purchased a flagpole for her front yard to serve as a memorial to her son Alex. Tony and System Pavers owners, Larry Green and Doug Lueck wanted to take her memorial to another level, and offered to install a new driveway to replace a cracked and damaged concrete one, and a memorable setting for her flagpole. To do this, the System Pavers crew serving the Sacramento area, created a gold star at the base of the flagpole out of paving stones, an everlasting tribute to her son Alex’s sacrifice. And to Rinda it serves as a reminder that her son’s life will not be overlooked or forgotten by others.
“The generosity of System Pavers has blown me away,” says Rinda. “This driveway and memorial is a huge deal to me and their commitment to do this when they could be doing profitable projects is so appreciated. This doesn’t happen every day. I have wanted to do this ever since my son was killed. The vision of Tony from System Pavers was beyond my imagination, and the construction crew tidy and very professional. My driveway and memorial are the talk of my neighborhood. Each time I drive home and see my flag waving, I am reminded of System Pavers’ great generosity which I will never forget.”
Along with his bravery represented by the memorial in her yard bearing our nation’s flag, Rinda would like her son to be remember as follows:
“My Alex was like so many other young men that have joined the military, he had a passion and joy for life. He wanted to do something in his life that brought meaning and purpose. What better way than to serve his country and be an example to his friends and family. His positive “can do” attitude was a perfect fit for basic training and military life. Alex had so many plans for after his service time was completed, but that will never be. I have been and always will be telling everyone about Alex and his heroic actions while he was serving in Baghdad Iraq in 2007. The Gold Star at the base of this flag pole is a tribute to my Alex and other Gold Star families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I will never forget and my hope is that all will remember and honor those that have been injured or killed in action in defense of the USA.”
Photos of the Dedication Ceremony