Means remembered in Fallen Heroes calendar

It was one year ago that New Prague lost one of its own as Marine LCPL Dale Means was killed in Afghanistan. He will be among 12 Minnesota soldiers whose sacrifice to their country will be honored as part of the 2014 Minnesota Fallen Heroes Remembered calendar.

Each month features a soldier with photos and tributes provided by their families. The photos of the soldiers range from them as children, with family or during their tours of duty. There are also brief biographies of each soldier.

The April tribute is to Means and includes a quote on why he joined the Marine Corps in 2010: "I want to challenge myself to the furthest extent and to have pride in what I have done."

This is the fifth calendar in the series, which was started by Patricia Boyd of St. Paul. Boyd came up with the project after visits to Fort Snelling National Cemetery. There, she met mothers of soldiers who didn’t want their sons’ sacrifices to be forgotten.

Boyd secures permission from families to participate and cooperation in submitting materials. She said that sometimes tracking down families takes some detective work. She belongs to the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcyclists that attend the funerals of members of the Armed Forces, firefighters and police. Sometimes she has to contact high schools or funeral homes to find families.

She noted, "It can be pretty difficult to find the family the longer the soldier has been gone." That wasn’t the case with Means’ family. Boyd was on a memorial ride and during two stops she met up with relatives of Means. "It was just meant to be," said Boyd.

The Means family was also very cooperative in providing details. "They got the information to me in a week," said Boyd.

She plans to continue the project until all of Minnesota’s fallen soldiers from the post 9/11 era have been honored. For the 2015 calendar they will be deviating from that aspect. The calendar will include the Minnesota Marines who were among those killed in a 1983 bombing in Beirut, Lebanon.

Calendars are available at www.militaryheroesfoundation. org. The sale of the calendars fund projects of the Bryan McDonough Military Heroes Foundation. Mc- Donough, a Minnesota National Guard from Maplewood, was featured in the first calendar in 2010.