Monroe County war memorial nearly halfway to fundraising goal

Monroe County war memorial nearly halfway to fundraising goal

6 News Reporter

MADISONVILLE (WATE) - You likely remember the story of Trooper Lowell Russell. He nearly lost his life in a fiery crash on I-40, but Friday he is spending his time helping to get a war memorial in Monroe County. 

"Frankie was a very close friend and almost part of the family," said Lowell Russell.

He remembers 21-year-old Lance Corporal Franklin Watson well. Watson died in Afghanistan in September of 2011.

To remember him and others from the Monroe County community that gave their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, Russell started a campaign to raise money for a marble memorial. County commissioners gave Russell the green light last September to build a memorial similar to ones they already have at the Monroe County courthouse. 

"A lot of families have suffered all across the nation, including with our county, a lot of good men and women have gave their all for our country," said Tim Yates, Monroe County Mayor. 

So far Russell and others raised nearly $4,000. For some time, the donations stopped coming in, but Thursday the memorial fund received a $500 donation. The fund has received two $500 dollar donations, which are the largest amounts that have gone toward the memorial.  

"It's for a monument for a good cause for the people. For Frankie Watson, my boys grew up with him," said D.J. Ayers of James Body Shop & Towing in Sweetwater. 

The proposed memorial is supposed to look like the twin towers. One tower representing those from Monroe County killed in Afghanistan like Watson and the other representing those who passed away during battle in Iraq. 

"It's a tribute to him and all the other men and women that served in these two wars," said Russell. 

They are hoping to raise the remaining $5,000 by Veterans Day. If you would like to help out the cause, you can log onto their gofundme page or call Russell at 423-519-1162. 

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