Bright Light Brewing Company has been a member of the downtown Fayetteville community since November 2016 and opened its doors to the public in April 2017. They call a remodeled-gym-turned-taproom home. Joining forces, BLBC, AOP Orthotics and Prosthetics and Silverback Fitness, all local veteran-owned downtown businesses, are offering the Fayetteville community an avenue to remember 13 fallen U.S. service members.
The fallen include Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah; Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts; Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California; Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska; Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California; Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio; Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.
The 13 service members above were killed outside Hamid Karzai International Airport Aug. 26. They were in Kabul “while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations,” according to a U.S. Department of Defense press release.
“We decided to do this to honor these soldiers as all three of us are veteran-owned businesses,” said Olivia Caughey, event manager, BLBC.
“We believe … honoring late soldiers, current soldiers, military mental health and spreading awareness of those who risk their lives for our freedom are incredibly important.”
Community members will meet at the BLBC taproom at 444 West Russell St. as early as 1 p.m., Oct. 10. BLBC will be offering their American Lager for $4 a pint as opposed to $6 in honor of the event. The 13-block memorial walk will commence at 2 p.m. As the group walks through downtown Fayetteville, they will encounter a flag on each block they pass bearing one of the names of the fallen 13.
The walk will close with a moment of silence at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum’s 14th annual Field of Honor installation. The Field of Honor Installation is on display until Nov. 14.
One of the service members who plan to be in attendance recently returned from Kabul and will attend with their family. This service member was near enough to feel the blast at HKIA, according to AOP Orthotics and Prosthetics co-owner Nick Rahl.
This event is near to these businesses’ hearts.
“It’s an honor to do it,” Rahl said.
BLBC will be hosting two additional events over the next few weeks. Beers and Bouncing is a free fitness event co-sponsored with 9Round Fitness, Oct. 16, from 1 to 2 p.m. and a Halloween event is planned for Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.