MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - An elite Navy SEAL who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week was being remembered in his native northwestern Tennessee on Saturday evening. While many of Aaron Vaughn's family and friends live a few states away, the 30-year old also had ties to the Treasure Coast. He lived in Stuart with his parents during high school.
Local efforts to remember the fallen Navy SEAL are being led by a Kara Russell, 17, who never knew Vaughn personally. Russell has been thinking about what Vaughn's family must be going through and also about how she can help them. "Whether or not we agree with the war, we should all be here for his family because he died for us," she said. Vaughn's chopper was shot down in rough terrain in Afghanistan last Saturday. He and nearly two dozen other elite Navy SEALS were killed.
Russell wants the community to step up to help Vaughn's widow, Kimberly, and their two children Reagan and Chamberlyn. "They still have a lot of time growing up that their mother needs to support them and it's going to be hard for her as a single mother." said Russell, who is organizing a November fundraiser in Vaughn's honor. Plans are being made for a 3K Memorial Walk in Flagler Park in downtown Stuart. "Holding a walk would let the family know that the community is really here for them," she said.
The Palm City teenager lost her father to cancer when she was eight years old and said she can sympathize with Vaughn's loved ones. "I feel like he gave his life for our country so that we could be living here, living the way that we do. And not a lot of people step up to honor somebody like that," Russell said. Vaughn's parents plan to hold a local memorial service, but those arrangements have yet to be finalized.
Russell is looking for donations to help make that 3K Memorial Walk a reality. Tentative plans call for the walk to be held at Flagler Park in Stuart on November 19, 2011. Funds raised through registrations will go to help support the Vaughn family. Those interested in helping can e-mail Russell by clicking here .