Gold Star families honored with monument dedication in Bullard

Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 6:25 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 7:19 AM CDT

BULLARD, Texas (KLTV) - A Gold Star Family is a family who has lost a loved one while they were serving their country.

Today, a memorial dedicated to Gold Star Families was revealed in front of the American Freedom Museum on Brook Hill’s campus. Mike Balfay A Chairman for The Gold Star Family memorial committee says this is a very important monument to have.

“It is crucial that we bring the gold star families together so they can communicate with each other, become friends, talk to each other, have each other’s shoulders to lean on if need be. Most of all the monument is a place for them to heal and to bring some peace to their life from what they have been through,” Balfay said.

The committee began raising money for the monument last April. It cost around 93 thousand dollars and all of the money came through donations.

“Tyler, Longview, none of these towns have one. We should have had one, but now we do. This Bullard one will reach out to 14 or 15 counties,” Balfay said.

Liz Bell lost her son Russ in 2012 in Afghanistan. He stepped on an IED. She has used the area as a way to connect with her son, but it’s now even more special.

“I come here, and I walk around the path, and I read the monuments and I go where his name is on the platform. So now I have another place I can come and a bench, so it means a lot that people would care enough about us and our feelings and what to recognize the loss that we’ve had,” Bell said.

Brian Casey, one of the founders of the Woody Williams Foundation is one of the grandsons of Hershel Woody Williams who came up with the idea for a monument of this kind. He says there are now 130 monuments dedicated to Gold Star Families across the nation with 68 more in the works.

“It really does my heart well every time. It signifies to me that A, we have gold star families that need to be recognized and that we have communities that are willing to go through the difficulties of raising funds to put a monument up,” Casey said.