Kristen, Adam and their son Alex have donated soccer balls to Eric's Goal in memoriam of their good friend, Lance Corporal Leon B. Deraps USMC who was killed in action in Iraq May 6, 2006. Each ball is personally inscribed by the family. This is a beautiful tribute to a brave soldier.
"Our contribution is in loving memory of Lance Cpl. Leon B. Deraps who died while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Anbar province, Iraq on May 6, 2006. May you never be forgotten Leon." -Kristen, Adam & Alex Barnes
Here's Alex displaying the inscribed soccer balls.
Kristen is friends with Leon's oldest sister and was friends with four of his siblings in high school. The Deraps family's youngest, Leon just graduated high school a year ago. The Barnes family were unable to attend the funeral of their good friend but witnessed the overwhelming community support through pictures and news articles. Protestors attended the visitation (though not the funeral) but fortunately, the Patriot Guard Riders (a group of motorcyclists who have been performing this function) were there and acted as a barrier between the protestors and the grieving family and friends of the soldier. These picketers represent a specific church and are pushing a particular agenda, at what many would consider an inappropriate moment for these grieving families. A bill was recently passed by Congress (the funeral protest ban) which would limit the rights of protestors at military funerals. The bill is currently at the White House. Click here to read a news story (from May 25) about the funeral protest ban. Many states have passed similar bills to the federal one.