Fort Hood shooting victims focus of fundraiser

BELTON — A bronze Scooby-Doo sculpture, cuddling with a baby Scooby-Doo with two tears in its eyes and a tail that hasn’t fully formed. A coffee cup and stethoscope perched on a stack of books. A greyhound statue, gaming controller and Pantera album clustered together.

Those sculptures — built by Salado artist Troy Kelley — represent three of the 13 victims killed in the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood.

Soon they will be inscribed on black granite columns that make up a memorial honoring the 13 killed and 32 wounded in the on-post shooting, but on Sunday, they were on display at Schoepf’s Bar-B-Que in Belton during the “Music for the Memorial” concert held to raise funds for the structure, set to be built next to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

“I hope that (when people see the memorial), they can see 13 people who were victims through no fault of their own,” Kelley said. “They were supposed to be in a very safe place, but terrorism reached out and got them.”

The tantalizing scent of smoked meat coupled with country and classic rock tunes blaring over the speakers made for a relaxed atmosphere.

Still, many attendees lingered by the table where the sculptures were displayed, pausing to reflect on the reason for the concert featuring Tyler-based country music group Whiskey Myers and opening act Jenna McDaniel, an 18-year-old Temple native.

“We thought this would be a family attraction, and a way for people to support a very worthy cause,” said Fred Latham, a member of the committee responsible for raising funds for the memorial’s construction.

Latham said the committee was hoping to raise the remaining $100,000 needed to complete construction of the memorial. To date, the committee has raised around $220,000, he said.

“(The community) has a symbolic relationship with Fort Hood,” Latham said. “Central Texas understands the sacrifice that soldiers in the Army make, and this was a supreme sacrifice that no one wanted to make.”

Joleen Cahill said it meant a lot to see so many people fill the restaurant to honor those affected on that day five years ago. Cahill’s husband, retired Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Cahill, was the only civilian killed in the shooting.

Now Joleen Cahill, who lives in Cameron, acts as the committee’s liaison for the families of the other victims, some of whom live as far away as Arizona and San Diego.

“While we are all going forward, we still need to remember,” she said. “(The memorial) will be an honor to everyone there, not just the ones we lost.”

Cahill said despite the distance, many family members plan to make the trip to Killeen when the memorial is unveiled.

“We’re all one big military family,” she said.

Fort Hood shooting victims focus of fundraiser

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