BY: HEATHER SPIVEY, TERESA MARTIN & LORI EGERTER
On Saturday, February 5th, a Heroes’ Farewell was hosted by the organization The Tree of Valor (Founder, Lori Egerter) and Teresa Ramey Martin, author of Sitting with a Soldier. “A Heroes’ Farewell” is a farewell to our troops on active duty or subject to call, not knowing when they will next be deployed, but ready to serve our country. The event took place at the Pinnix Building, located at 101 S. Main Street in Kernersville.
Joe Pinnix kindly donated space for the tribute for the months of December and January, which allowed the entire Town of Kernersville and surrounding areas an opportunity to share in The Tree of Valor tribute. A tribute remains at Coopers’ Vintage Village in Kernersville year-round, complete with a piano…come on in and have a seat!
Visitors to the Heroes’ Farewell included a Commander from the USS Cole, local Mayors, Purple Heart recipients, Gold Star families, and other ranking officers. Guests stood quietly as soldiers found their “trees” and sometimes even the faces of brothers displayed on the trees. There were lots of stories shared and tears shed.
The Tree of Valor is a traveling pictorial tribute honoring those in the military past and present. The Tree of Valor has a goal never to let our Veterans be forgotten, by sharing them from sea to shining sea. The Tree of Valor is a reminder to each soldier—past and present—that their duties to our country were, are, and will always be honorable and appreciated in every capacity where they served! The Tree of Valor evergreen signature represents the never-changing steadfastness, strength of courage, and tenacity with which our soldiers stand a line to keep our country safe. The Tree of Valor is funded solely by donations.
There were many veterans who also came to see Lori’s daughter Lexi, affectionately named “Miss America the Beautiful” because she loves veterans, the flag, and the national anthem so much. Lexi has taken many of the photos of the trees, along with veterans she has met. It’s where she finds purpose in this life.
Teresa Martin observed, “I am a US Navy Veteran who served humbly, and will forever be proud to stand for God and Country. This dedication may truly be, at times, something that only a soldier understands.”
Lori Egerter added, “I want to thank the community for their donations of trees, lights, and pictures. I also want to thank the Ward Sisters for singing the National Anthem, as well as Army veteran Franklin Thom for playing military songs on his accordion throughout the entire event.”
“My biggest thank-you is to my son, Josh Groft, for becoming a United States Marine. His bravery led me into this project. His one decision has made a difference in the lives of many across the country.”