Local college student raises money for Gold Star Memorial in Rockbridge County

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – A local college student is working to build a Gold Star Memorial in Rockbridge County.

Jaden Keuhner is a junior at Washington and Lee. He’s a member of the university baseball team, and also a Junior ROTC member through VMI.

“I’ve been raised around military my entire life,” Keuhner said. “My dad started taking me to see wounded veterans from a very young age, from about 8 years old and their impact changed me.”

Despite a busy college schedule, he’s dedicating his free time to a much greater cause — raising money to build the first Gold Star Memorial in Lexington.

“The purpose of the memorial is to honor and remember families who have lost someone close to them, inside their family in the military,” he said.

Last week, he met with Lexington’s city manager to tour possible sites, one of which is Jordan’s Point.

But perhaps most impactful — he met with local Gold Star family member David Prasnicki, the father of Rockbridge native First Lieutenant Chase Prasnicki.

“It means a lot to me, again keeping those memories alive for both Chase and Drew,” David said.

Chase graduated from Rockbridge County High School, a year before captain Andrew Ross who was also killed in service.

10 News spoke to his sister Sarah Geisen who’s also in support of the memorial.

“It’s just another way for us to honor Drew, honor Chase,” Geisen said. “VMI is right there, we have so many people who have served coming from Lexington and Rockbridge County so it’s really an honor to just participate in it.”

There are 118 Gold Star Memorials across the U.S. Keuhner’s would be the third in Virginia.

Now, he’s working to raise $60,000 to make it possible.

“It’s truly an honor,” Keuhner said. “These are incredible people, they are families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. I see no better way in honoring them, honoring their lost loved ones than trying to build the memorial and continue their family names.”

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