A residence for disabled homeless veterans was dedicated in a ceremony, April 2, in honor of Marine killed in the Al-Anbar province, Iraq April 2, 2006.
Sgt. Brian R. St. Germain was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed during convoy security patrol duties.
Nearly 300 attended the ceremony including Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts; Brig. Gen. Charles E. Petraca, Jr., Land Component Commander, R.I. National Guard; Col. Susan Luz, U.S. Army, retired; and Marine Maj. Stanley Calixte, executive officer, Instructor and Inspector Unit, Providence, R.I.
“This day is kind of bitter-sweet,” said Gold Star Mother Lynn St. Germain-Lundh, the mother of Sergeant St. Germain.
“I think it’s great they are honoring my son this way,” she said. “But I still miss him every day.”
The Marine Sgt. Brian R. St. Germain Home, located at 790 Providence St., is one of six housing facilities operated by Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI). The St. Germain Home presently houses nine disabled homeless veterans.
“We firmly believe that the best way to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice is to provide care for their brothers and sisters in arms who have returned from duty and find themselves in great need,” said Erik Wallin, executive director, OSDRI.
“There are many veterans that need help, and there will be more to come,” Wallin said.
“Brian was a member of our newest generation of service members who didn’t consider themselves special, but did extraordinary things,” said Luz.
Luz, who was the guest speaker for the event, was an Army nurse who arrived in Iraq two months after St. Germain was killed.
“They were aware there would be an extraordinary price to pay,” Luz said.
The General Support Motor Transport Company, 6th Motor Transport Battalion, Providence, R.I. provided the Marine color guard.
A contingent of 30 members from the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle Club, Rhode Island chapter; and Patriot Guard Riders, attended the ceremony and stood as flag bearers around the ceremony site.
“Freedom is not cheap. It is about blood and sacrifice. Unfortunately for us, to maintain our freedom, we have to lose our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters,” said Tony DeQuattro, founder, president and chairman, OSDRI, in unveiling the dedication plaque with Mrs. St. Germain-Lundt.
Since 1993, OSDRI has provided supportive services to its residents and other low income veterans. In 2010, OSDRI dedicated the Marine Lance Cpl. Holly Charette House in Johnston, R.I., the first transitional home for homeless female veterans in Rhode Island. Charette was the first Rhode Island female Marine to die in Iraq.