PFC Jeff Braun Memorial Soccer Game has dual purpose
By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Wed., Jul. 24, 2013
The 10th annual Jeff Braun Memorial Soccer Game will be held at Stafford High School on Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. This game is held as a tribute to PFC Jeff Braun, who was adopted from Honduras and was raised in Stafford. On Dec. 12, 2003, Braun was killed in Iraq.
Throughout his life, Braun had a dream. He planned on helping the other orphans in Honduras when he was to return home from the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army. He was going to build an orphanage and help support it. Since his death, his dream has come to fruition. There is now a two-year-old orphanage called Hope for Honduras-Children’s Home, which currently houses 17 children.
“There is still a lot of work to be done. The children need a playscape, so on Aug. 16, I will be going to Honduras to help build it,” said Travis Gagnon. “Jeff was my best friend, so I may be a little biased, but he was an incredible human being that just wanted to help others. I am going to do whatever I can to help make his dreams become reality.”
Gagnon and 14 other travelers from Stafford and Ashford are heading to the orphanage in Honduras. They will not only build the playscape that was donated by the Pre-school of the Arts, but will also do whatever is needed to insure the health and happiness of the orphans. “There are so many things that these children are in need of. Most of the items are on the ‘Walmart Wish List,’” said Lauren Gagnon. “Some of the items that we are hoping to have donated at the memorial soccer game are school supplies, kids’ hygiene products, diapers and general household products. We will also be accepting monetary donations at the game.”
Travis Gagnon started the memorial soccer game 10 years ago. Along with Travis, many Stafford High alumni also played soccer with Braun and they feel that this is a great way to remember what a wonderful person he was, and also to help raise money to be able to carry on Braun’s dream. Over the past few years, more than $140,000 has been raised in Stafford alone. The group is hoping to raise money and get enough products donated so they may take more children into the orphanage.
There will be a shipping container full of supplies that will reach Honduras around the same time that the 15 volunteers arrive. They will be carrying supplies as well. To be a part of Jeff Braun’s dream, call Lauren Gagnon at 860-830-8336 or Sue Leavitt at 860-836-0394. “Every little bit helps,” said Lauren.
For more information about the orphanage or Braun’s story, visit the website http://www.hopechildrenshome.org/JeffBraun.htm.