ELKO — As a way to remember Elko’s first and only casualty of the war in Iraq, the Elko POW/MIA Awareness Association is hosting an annual benefit barbecue on Saturday.
Lance Cpl. Raul S. Bravo was killed while conducting combat operations on March 2, 2007, in Anbar province. To honor his memory, his family set up the Lance Cpl. Raul S. Bravo Memorial Scholarship.
Between three and four scholarships are awarded to Elko High seniors each year. As a way to help financially support the scholarship and remember Bravo, the local POW/MIA Association hosts the annual motorcycle memorial ride to Lamoille and back, and a barbecue lunch to follow.
“People should come and remember a young man who gave up his life so the rest of us could do what we do on a daily basis,” said Les Brown, commanding officer for the Elko POW/MIA Association. “It’s important that everyone remembers we all take our freedoms for granted on a daily basis and this young man gave up his life for the rest of us.”
The public is welcome to attend both the memorial motorcycle ride at 10 a.m. and the ceremony and barbecue at noon Saturday at Main City Park.
“I think that people should come remember him and others like him and pay their respects,” Brown said.
He said the scholarship fund was set up so something positive could come out of Bravo’s death and as a way to keep his memory alive.
The POW/MIA Association donates the food and volunteers for the annual barbecue. They also hosted a memorial parade for Bravo four years ago following the news of his death.
“We do something every year to honor him and every fallen veteran from Elko County,” Brown said.
As part of the memorial ceremony, representatives from the military will be in attendance. Members of Bravo’s family will also be in attendance to talk about who Bravo was and the things he stood for as Marine.
“Everyone should come out, have a good time and remember a young Elko kid who loved being a Marine,” Brown said.
The cost per person for lunch is $5.