Fallen soldier remembered by local VFW

By KRIS REILLY, Editor

The local Veterans of Foreign Wars post honored one of Lucerne Valley’s fallen heroes on Saturday.

Sgt. Brian L. Walker, who grew up in Lucerne Valley, was killed in Afghanistan in May. Walker was buried in Arizona, where he planned to live with his wife. Walker’s mother, Doris Ladenburger (formerly Monville), said she wished to have a local marker for her son, so she contacted VFW Post 5551 about putting up a memorial in the VFW building on Highway 18.

The VFW obliged, and Ladenburger said she held two fundraisers to buy a plaque adorned with Walker’s name at the top. There are dozens of empty spaces below Walker’s name. Ladenburger said anyone in the community who wishes to honor a fallen veteran can add an engraving to the plaque.

Three of the spaces have been filled: Two are the names of soldiers who were also killed in the attack that killed Walker, and a third is Charles Cooper, a Vietnam veteran who lived in Lucerne Valley until his death in 2008.

A brief dedication ceremony was held Saturday at the VFW post. A small group of friends and family attended, including Walker’s brother, Bert Walker Jr., and his grandmother Donna Roberson.

Post Commander Tom Pugliese gave the dedication speech.

“This is a solemn, important occasion,” Pugliese said. “We are assembled here to pay tribute to a member of our community who has served in the United States Armed Forces. ... I’d like to thank the family today for bringing in this wonderful plaque. It will be represented and remembered for many years to come. And in my mind, I hope we don’t have to put too many more names on this plaque.”