RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Wednesday, Americans across the country will honor those who served on Veterans Day. That includes a Midlothian High School graduate who raised money online for a war memorial at the high school.
2nd lieutenant John Lance Geoghegan died in the Vietnam War when his daughter, Cammie, was just five months old. Only a few pictures were taken of his family before he left for the war. Cammie says her father’s parents were instrumental in passing on his story.
“I really felt like I’d get to know who he was through them,” said Cammie Olson.
It’s a story Cammie Olson passed along to her daughter, Stephanie, and part of his story would be portrayed on the big screen in the 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers” starring Mel Gibson. Actor Chris Klein plays Cammie’s father.
“We used to always go to the Vietnam War Memorial and honor him there, we just wanted to do something at my high school and make an impact in that way the wall does,” said Midltohian High School graduate Stephanie Olson.
Stephanie started a GoFundMe page last year as a senior, hoping to raise enough money to create a war memorial in memory of her grandfather and fallen Midlothian High School graduates. The donations more than doubled her goal. She says she realized last year the real impact of the memorial when she was pulled out of class to meet a man at the front.
“He came up to me and he thanked me for all the work that we’ve put in,” said Stephanie.
The man gave her a check, then said: “You’re doing this for my son, and just hearing that was unbelievable,” said Stephanie.
His son, Air Force Major Charles Ransom, was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. He’s the only known Midlothian High School graduate to have died in combat. He will also be honored as the memorial is dedicated Wednesday.
“So it can be a learning and a healing place too. I mean that’s ideally what we want. It’s beautiful, I mean the whole thing, it’s just so meaningful,” said Cammie.
Anyone that would like to attend is invited. The dedication will take place at Midlothian High School at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.