Memorial Effort for Fallen Soldier Needs Community’s Help
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 affected people across the globe. Dan Brown was one of them.
“He had a lot of feelings about 911 and it influenced him quite a bit,” his father, Jerry Brown of Twin Falls, told News Radio 1310. “He joined the U.S. Army soon after graduation.”
Sgt. Dan Brown was a professional soldier, who served as a tank commander. He knew his job well. But that didn’t stop March 24, 2012 from happening. On that day more than four years ago, the aftermath of 911 further impacted the Brown family.
Two weeks before he was scheduled to return home from the war zones of Afghanistan – and just three months after his wife, Jordan, gave birth to twin daughters – Brown was killed in Kandahar province after enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
“It’s been tough,” his dad said in a phone interview on Thursday, his voice choking with emotion. “It’s been really tough.”
About six months after that sad day, Jerry started working on a memorial to honor his son, as well as other fallen soldiers from Idaho. He hired an artist from Salt Lake City, Lena Toritch, and the soldier’s sculpture is mostly complete. In all, about 73 soldier names will be engraved on its wall. He’s paid for it himself, but needs some help getting it placed.
“I figure we’ll need about $20,000 to finish everything,” Jerry said, noting the plan is to place the memorial on Saturday, Nov. 12 – the day after Veteran’s Day – at the Gayle Forsyth Park in Jerome, where a young Dan Brown used to play.
There are several ways people can donate: through the CSI Foundation, a GoFundMe account, or by contacting friends of the family Jennifer Moss or Ryan Horsley.
Horsley said he didn’t realize until recently that Jerry’s memorial efforts still needs money, so he’s been helping spread the word through social media and other avenues.
Brown grew up in Jerome, but his parents reside in Twin Falls. Horsley said involvement from both communities – and others that want to help – would be appreciated.
“He’s been doing everything on his own,” Horsley said, explaining that Jerry also is battling some health challenges. “It’s time for the community to step up and help.”
Jerry said he was diagnosed with a tumor in his eye, but during a routine checkup doctors found the cancer had spread to his liver.
“Don’t worry,” Jerry said. “I’m going to beat it.”
In the meantime, he will be holding a fundraising golf scrambler on Aug. 27 at the Jerome Golf Course. He’s also contacted Lowe's for help through its Heroes program. And Moss and Horsley are doing what they can to help raise enough money to place the memorial.
“I’m kind of kicking people in the pants,” said Horsley, who owns Red’s Trading Post in Twin Falls. He said Jerry and his wife, Becky, are not the kind of people who usually ask for help despite what they’ve been through and the health challenges Jerry is faced with now. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves because it’s the right thing to do. We need to help this man out and honor his son and our soldiers.
“I’m not a fundraiser at all,” Horsley continued, “but at the same time I’m like a bull in a China cabinet. I thought I could lean on some of our firearm manufacturers, list those guns online, and send the money to the CSI Foundation. … I just want people to step up.”
Money raised beyond what is needed for the memorial will be used to help Jerry with his cancer treatments, Horsley said. To donate, call Horsley at 733-3546, Moss at 324-1000, the CSI Foundation at 732-6245, or visit the Sgt. Dan Brown, Soldier Memorial GoFundMe account. You may also donate an old gun to Red’s and Horsley will try to sell it as part of the fundraising effort.
Before the interview ended with Jerry, he shared a story about his son:
“He once told a friend who asked why he stayed in the Army: ‘Well,’ he told her, ‘because I’m good at my job.’ I didn’t know what he meant until I saw another soldier who was given the Medal of Honor. He said he wasn’t scared to be in the military because he was good at his job. He was so well trained and knew what he was doing. That’s why he wasn’t afraid.
“It finally hit me,” Jerry said. “It wasn’t because Dan was a good sergeant or whatever, but because he was so well trained. He really loved doing it. I think that’s how all our soldiers feel. I think it’s kind of their motivation.
“And Dan loved people. That’s another reason he loved the military so much.”