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Riviera Beach woman pushes for local memorial site

Riviera Beach woman pushes for local memorial site (WPEC)

A Riviera Beach woman is on a mission to make sure grieving families have a place to go to honor fallen heroes.

Lauren Berkson was only 10 months old when her father, Capt. Joseph Berkson, died in the Vietnam War.

“Growing up, my mom always said, ‘He lives on through me’,” she said.

Berkson has since joined Gold Star Children, a group that understands what it’s like to sacrifice a loved one for our freedom.

“We’re the ones left behind," she said. "We’re the ones that live without that person forever."

With no memorial monument in Palm Beach County, Berkson decided to take matter into her own hands.

Representing the organization, she teamed up with the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.

Thanks to her, four 7-feet-high, 13-feet long black granite panels will soon be standing side by side at Trinity Park to honor heroes and their grieving families.

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument will be the first memorial of its kind in the county, according to Berkson.

“We have one in Port St. Lucie. We have one in Tampa,” she said. “Palm Beach County deserves to have something like this.”

The city approved the $50,000 project last December. She called it a huge victory.

“I think it’s really important for the community. I think it’s not just for Gold Star Families and for veterans. I think everyone will utilize this monument,” she said. “I want people to know this is about education, awareness and outreach.”

Right now, the foundation is accepting donations to make this a reality.

To donate, click here.

Berkson said the monument is expected to be completed the last week of September.

CBS12 News will be there for the unveiling.

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