NOLANVILLE — Former Sgt. Jack Thompson, who deployed to Iraq three times, has many friends who died while serving their country.
He and his wife, Andrea, were among about 300 motorcycle enthusiasts who listened to live music and supported the troops Sunday during a raffle at Kay’s Motorcycle Mania.
The event, which also featured a silent auction, raised about $10,000 to donate to the Central Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial Association.
The nonprofit will use those funds next Memorial Day to place a stone listing all the Central Texas soldiers who died the previous year at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.
“The whole purpose behind the design for our memorial is to remember that they’re not names on a stone. They’re real people,” said Patrick Turck, president of the nonprofit. “It’s to make sure that all these people who died are remembered as human beings, as people and members of our community.”
Turck said working to memorialize fallen soldiers has become a labor of love since he started the nonprofit in 2005.
“I was always raised with love of country and respect for the military,” Turck said.
Jessica Rawls, manager of Kay’s Motorcycle Mania, partnered with the nonprofit organization as a way to give back to soldiers.
“It was a great turnout,” she said.
Veterans Day is important because it honors the sacrifice of all the soldiers who have given their lives for freedom in the U.S, said Jack Thompson. His oldest son is serving in Afghanistan now.
“It’s difficult as a parent for (my wife), but for me it’s part of the job,” Thompson said.