A new effort is underway to create a permanent honor for a fallen Maryville Marine.
Sgt. Michael Ferschke Jr. was killed in Iraq on Aug. 10, 2008. He left behind a wife, Hota, and son, Mikey, who was born five months after his death.
"We never want him to be forgotten," said Robin Ferschke, the Marine's mother.
Now, the community is coming together to ensure that doesn't happen.
Family friends and supporters, with the help of the Patriot Guard Riders and Tennessee's Helping Hearts, are launching an effort to raise money for a bronze bust of Sgt. Ferschke.
"Wars are horrible, and nobody wants to remember them, and that's fine, but we need to remember the people that gave their lives, people that gave many parts of themselves that are still with us, but we need to remember all of these things and honor them," said Javier La Rosa, a family friend who is helping in the fundraising efforts. "In Michael, we're going to honor all of them."
An artist from the River Gallery in Chattanooga already has created sketches of the planned bust, and those sketches will be on display this weekend at the first fundraising event.
"We need to raise $50,000 to make this bust happen, and so, through a series of events, I know, through the generosity of everybody in East Tennessee, we are going to make this happen," La Rosa said.
A booth will be set up at the Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Maryville starting around 10:30 a.m. Saturday. It will be back again on July 28 and August 4.
Future events are in the works, but donations also can be made at any SunTrust bank location.
Organizers hope the bust will be completed by April. And, by that time, they hope to have a permanent location for it in Maryville.
It will be a long-time goal realized for Sgt. Ferschke's mother.
"My dream, my vision is, especially the younger generation, they will see this and know what he and others have done, and I'm hoping it will change our society and have them look at that and say, wow, look what he did, look what they did, I can do good, too, I can do that, I can, maybe not military, but whatever I may choose in life, I can do this, and I can succeed," Robin Ferschke said. "That's all we want from all of our children is to succeed in whatever dream they have, and I believe that this bust will be part of that."