Editor’s Note: Memorial Day has been observed since just after the Civil War in one form or another, and all too often the meaning of this holiday weekend is lost. The date marks the unofficial beginning of Summer for many, but for all it should be a time of remembrance and commemoration of our nation’s fallen soldiers.
The Wall Street Journal has a great opinion piece by Tom Manion titled “Why They Serve – ‘If Not Me, Then Who?’ We wanted to highlight another story of a young American who made the ultimate sacrifice, and show YOU how to get involved.
Derek Hines was born on July 9, 1980 and died on September 1, 2005 in Baylough, Afghanistan. His unit was conducting security operations and came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. Even after he had been fatally shot, 1LT Hines continued to fire at the insurgents. Derek was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he flourished both academically and as a hockey player. He was named assistant captain his senior year and in 2007 he was posthumously awarded the NCAA Award of Valor.
Derek’s family set up the 1st Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assitance Fund in 2007 to give back to those putting their lives in danger for the United States. The 1st Lieutenant Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance fund intends to provide financial assistance for Massachusetts’s soldiers, and their families, who have incurred serious, career ending, and life altering injuries while on active duty.
Although he went to Army, I met Derek Hines at Wesleyan, when he was visiting his younger brother, Mike, who was an All-American lacrosse player that I helped coach. Mike was 4 years younger than I was, but Derek and I shared the exact same birthday, and both played high school lacrosse in Massachusetts at the exact same time. I played for Weston, he played for St. John’s Prep in Danvers.
From the first moment I met him, I was blown away by his personality and character, and by his love for his brother. It was just that evident. And even though I had only met Derek two or three times, when I heard the news of his passing, I couldn’t help but cry. Derek was a great man, and a great older brother, and it broke my heart to learn that he was gone.
But the Hines family is a tough, resilient bunch, and they decided to do something to honor Derek, and to help other military families trying to cope with tough situations. So they created the 1st Lieutenant Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund in 2007, which you can learn even more about here.
And now the Derek Hines Fund needs your help, so they can expand their reach and help more families and soldiers.
Derek was a great guy, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all, and on this Memorial Day Weekend, when the College Lacrosse Final Four is being played in Derek’s home state, I truly hope the lacrosse community can rally to help his family with their inspiring mission.