A Warren County family recently attended a memorial service in Washington, D.C., to honor its fallen hero.
On April 20, Ronald Richard Fajbik was posthumously honored during a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, commonly referred to as "The Wall," with his wife, Laurlie; daughter, Kim; son, Brian; and grandson, Darrin in attendance.
Ron passed away in on Nov. 20, 2005 following an illness as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Herserved in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1971.
The ceremony was a part of the In Memory program through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which honors those who died as a result of the Vietnam War, but whose deaths do not fit the Department of Defense criteria for inclusion on The Wall.
"There was information via the web with the Veteran memorial fund," said Laurlie.
She submitted an application for the In Memory program and was accepted.
Laurlie and her family joined 122 other families for the ceremony.
"It was very emotional," she said. "It's rewarding to know there are people out there that do care."
A color guard was on hand to honor those who lost their lives for their country. Remarks were given by Sandra Ramirez, whose father was honored in 2008. The keynote address was given by Richard Schneider, executive director of Government Affairs, Non-Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S.A.
Rain fell as the names of the fallen heroes were read by the family and friends honoring them.
"When the ceremony was done, we were allowed to take (a plaque) to a certain section of the wall and place it there with any memorabilia."
Laurlie said it was important for her family to be a part of the ceremony, especially her grandson, Darrin, who is 15 years old.
"He was close to his grandfather," she said, "and he really didn't understand Agent Orange."
"I think it's important that the younger generation know about it," Laurlie added.
In Warren County, she is the director of the Order of the Silver Rose, which recognizes and honors those who have been stricken with one of the 43 diseases connected with the herbicide Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam and parts of Korea.
"The men and women who served in Vietnam are losing their lives to Agent Orange," she said.
Laurlie is hopeful that other families who have lost veterans to the effects of Agent Orange will apply for the In Memory program.
"They certainly all deserve the recognition," she said.