Fundraiser planned for hometown hero Becket Kiernan
ROCHESTER — Becket Kiernan’s mother, Lynda, remembers her son as a “scholar warrior,” and she hopes that with the installation of a memorial in his hometown of Rochester, residents of the Tri-Town will as well.
Kiernan, 18, was a United States Marine and graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School. He died on Feb. 5, 2018 after contracting necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection that enters the body through an open wound and kills off soft tissue.
Initially, Lynda planned to erect a flagpole and plaque at the Joseph Plumb Memorial Library in Rochester to honor her son’s love of reading.
“He was an avid reader, especially [of] military history,” she said. “From the ‘Art of War’ to pieces written about every conflict and war throughout history and pieces written by contemporary Marines, he read all of it.”
Then, when Tri-Town Veterans Service Officer Christopher Gerrior heard about the family’s plan to build a memorial, he suggested that they set their sights higher.
“He said, ‘why not do something even bigger?,’ noted Lynda. “So [Gerrior’s] in the works right now, talking to everyone in the town, spreading the word, getting ideas [and] going to meetings.”
According to Gerrior, the memorial is still in the “planning stages” as of Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Kiernan’s sister, Mallory, hopes that the memorial will “spread his morals and what he stood for.”
“I feel like me and a lot of other people knew him as being kind and a leader but also humble,” she said.
But before anything can be built, the family has to raise funds for its construction.
Kiernan’s childhood friend, Amberrayn Vaughan answered the call and organized a fundraiser in support of Kiernan’s memorial.
“I've known him since [I was] probably six or seven years old,” said Vaughan. “And he was my brother's best friend. They were very close in the [Young Marines] program. And then when I joined, we all started getting a lot closer.”
The 21+ fundraiser will have live music, three raffle prizes and tshirts, stickers and buttons for sale, she said.
“It's a very small bar,” said Vaughan. “It's an old fashioned movie themed [bar] with a small stage. It's really cozy and people can talk to each other.”
“I think that he would be very proud of [Vaughan],” said Lynda. “She really has been an absolute powerhouse, pulling these events together.”
“He would think that he did not deserve any kind of a spotlight, but he’d be very proud of what [Vaughan] has accomplished,” she added.
Vaughn said that Kiernan helped teach her how to be a leader through their time together in the Young Marines.
“Once he was gone, was when I was done holding back on my dreams,” she said.
According to Vaughan, Kiernan’s values are best explained in his own words.
“Do something that when you look back on life, you will feel fulfilled,” said Kiernan in an interview for the Old Rochester High School newspaper. “Don't chase money, do something that makes you happy, and don't stop working until you get there.”
The fundraiser is scheduled for Feb. 19 from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Galactic Theatre, 440 Main Street, Warren, Rhode Island. To make a donation to Becket Kiernan’s family, email email@example.com or Lyndamarie33@gmail.com.