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Honor Allen, a hero

He has been described by many as a true American hero. The kind of soldier who was honored to serve his country and dedicated in doing just that.

On his fourth deployment as an Army Ranger, 23-year-old Coal Grove native Justin Allen, a team leader assigned to Company D 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, was killed in July 2010 during a combat mission in Afghanistan.

It was news that shook the entire community, one of Lawrence County’s native sons coming home too soon.

Much has been accomplished to honor Allen’s memory and service, including the renaming on Marion Pike in Coal Grove to the Sgt. Justin Bradley Allen Memorial Parkway.

A scholarship was also started and funded by Allen’s mother, which is given annually to a Dawson-Bryant High School senior.

In hopes that the scholarship will continue to benefit students for years to come, as well as honor Allen’s memory, family friend Cody Chaffin has started a fundraiser to increase the fund’s coffers.

Chaffin is selling T-shirts for $20, which can be found at www.booster.com/justin_allen_memorial.

The theme of the shirts is “Freedom Is Not Free,” a sentiment that many people who have family and friends serving in the armed forces know all too well.

Allen and many others from Lawrence County and the Tri-State gave their lives to protect our nation and communities.

That is the kind of sacrifice that should never be forgotten.