Fundraising for the Arkansas Gold Star Family Memorial Monument began in earnest on Saturday with a kickoff event by members of the Arkansas Chapter of the Marine Corps League. Accompanied by state Senator Eddie Williams of Cabot, the effort, held at the Cabot Kroger Grocery Store, volunteers spent the day collecting toward the $500,000 needed to build the Monument.

Williams, with state Representative Trevor Drown, co-sponsored the bill, now Act 281 0f 2017, to allow the monument on Capitol grounds.

“Of all the Gold Star Monuments in the nation, this will be the only one on the Capitol grounds,” Williams said.

Response to the first fundraiser, held at the Cabot Kroger, of the statewide effort was very positive, Marine Corps League members Paul Garrett and John Smallwood, both from Jacksonville and co-chairmen of the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument Project, remarked. Estimates are that more than $2,000 was raised on the day, toward the goal of $500,000.

Members of the Sgt. W.K. Singleton Pipes and Drum Corps, from Memphis, performed throughout the day.

A Gold Star family is a wife, husband, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, parent through adoption, foster parents who stand or stood in loco parentis, children, stepchildren, children through adoption, brothers, sisters, half brothers, half sisters, aunts, uncles, grandchildren and grandparents of anyone who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

The Gold Star Family Memorial was created by Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody’ Williams to remember the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. For more information on donating to the Monument fund, go online to