Gold Star Families
Memorial Monument

The Arkansas National Guard Foundation supports Gold-Star Families and Survivors through an Emergency Relief Fund, educational grants, loans and scholarships, and through survivor reunion initiatives.

The Gold-Star Family Emergency Relief Fund provides immediate and direct relief for survivors’ families who experience temporary economic hardship. This fund provides $20,000 a year in aid for unexpected emergencies, catastrophic medical bills, childcare, spousal employment education, post disaster relief, and nutritional assistance. The fund can also provide no-interest loans or grants to help meet immediate needs and make a positive step toward lasting financial stability. Secondly, the Foundation provides education grants, loans, or scholarships to dependent children, surviving spouses, and survivors of all branches of service. These resources have benefited Gold-Star Families and Survivors experiencing financial need during the Christmas holidays through gift-giving trees and other direct aid. Finally, the Foundation understands the unique bonds, mutual support, and sense of community that exists within the survivor community in Arkansas. The Foundation provides programs that enable survivor families to come together to support one another. These family-based programs consist of an annual Christmas celebration at the State Capitol and a summer resiliency retreat for the families at Greers Ferry Lake. A cornerstone awareness campaign, undertaken with and for the families, commemorates the service members with a combat boot display on the front steps of the State Capitol during Arkansas’s Gold Star Family Day.

Gold Star Families gathered in front of the Gold Star Giving Tree in the State Capitol


The last weekend of September is Gold Star Families Weekend and the last Sunday in September is Gold Star Mother’s Day — this is the weekend of the Fallen Heroes Combat Boot Display on the steps of the State Capitol.

It’s no secret that the National Guard played a large role in the war on terror. Guard and Reserve units made up about 45 percent of the total force sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, and received 18.4 percent of the casualties. With hundreds of thousands of men and women having served, the National Guard has more than earned a place of remembrance for its part in the 14-year war.

Total Number of Arkansas Military Fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan as of October 4, 2021 was 89.

Number of Arkansas National Guard personnel lost due to combat action since 9/11: 20

Number of Survivors enrolled in the Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) Program in Arkansas: 1466 Survivors, including Spouses, Parents, Siblings, and Children between the age of 10 and 26.

Number of Arkansas deceased service members from all branches of Service since 9/11, including Combat, Non-Combatant, and Off Duty Deaths (including suicides), 600.

Gold Star Purple –Those who died in combat:

SGT Kenneth Melton
SGT John Massey
SPC Lyle Rymer
SGT Russell Collier
CWO4 Patrick Kordsmeier
CPL Jimmie Buie
SGM William Warren
SFC William Labadie
SFC Troy Miranda
SGT Michael Smith
SFC John Brown
SSG Stacey Brandon
SPC Jeremy McHalffey
SGT Ronald Baker
CPT Arthur Bo Felder
SGT Joshua Marcum
SGT Erich Smallwood
MAJ Michael Taylor
SSG Billy Joe Orton
SSG Hesley Box