Memorial Ceremony in Pasco honors veterans

Gold Star step-mom keeps the memory of her son alive

PASCO, Wash. (KAPP-KVEW) — City View Cemetery in Pasco honored veterans this Memorial Day by unveiling a new permanent Veterans Wall. The stone wall represents all military branches with flags and plaques embracing the American flag in the center.

This ceremony was not only important for veterans who have lost brothers and sisters in uniform, but for the families loved ones left being.

Denise Campbell, a Gold Star step-mom, continues to remember her son of her heart. An extraordinary young man who served in the US Marine Corps. in the 2nd Raider Battalion, Sgt. Talon Leach.

Sgt. Leach served as a critical skills operator sniper who could speak Arabic and was a HALO jump expert. To his family at home who loved him, he was a young man who was always ready for a challenge and found his calling in the military.

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“He came home one day and said ‘I signed up.’ His Dad was really surprised. He asked him, ‘What did you choose?’ And he said the Marine Corps, and his Dad said, ‘That’s a lot! Why did you choose the Marine Corps?’ and Talon said, ‘I want to be the best,'” said Campbell recalling the moment he signed up for the Marines.

At 14-years-old, he knew the importance of family and, despite any challenges in his teenage years, Sgt. Leach spent time with step-mom sharing his love and gratitude for the role she played in his life.

“It’s a really special thing to be a parent of a service member and devastating when you get that knock on the door at 3 o’clock in the morning,” said Campbell.

Sgt. Leach was 27 when he was killed on July 10, 2017, while on the KC-130 Hercules when it came apart at 20,000 feet over Mississippi. Sgt. Leach was one of 16 souls lost that day.

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Campbell said that it’s important to reach out to others who are going through the same thing. She said that grief is different for everyone, but it’s important to grieve. Campbell said she is grateful for all those who showed their support for the families left behind.

“It truly takes a team to raise these incredible young men and women who serve our country.” – Denise Campbell

For those who have lost loves ones, Campbell said, “it’s really important to remember the bad times, the good times, and the hard times. Bring those memories forward because not talking about somebody who has died is to put them aside. I think it’s really important to remember those people.”

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