Pat Boyd didn’t know Tom Burnett, the Bloomington native who fought back aboard United Airlines flight 93 on September 11, 2001. But she often visited his grave at Fort Snelling.
“He was a true hero and leader on September 11 and I thought he should be visited more than once or twice a year,” she said.
That led to her noticing the decorated gravesites nearby and to the discovery that many were for recently fallen soldiers. That led to her meeting the mothers.
“After listening to the moms, I knew that one of their concerns was that no would ever forget their sons and the sacrifices they made,” she said. “I tried to think of some way to know that we weren’t going to forget them.”
Pat Boyd, who describes herself as a mom first and foremost, thought about a way that the soldiers would be remembered every day.
What happened is one of those things that arises out of an ordinary person feeling the need to step up and do something; and the momentum building from the bottom to get it done. The end result is the Minnesota Fallen Heroes Remembered calendar. Each month of the 2010 calendar is dedicated to a fallen soldier or Marine from Minnesota, with pictures and a narrative of the person’s life and death.
When Tom Burnett’s parents talked to her about the project, they wanted to be part of it. Tom Burnett is September.
When graphic designer Jen Turcotte heard about the project, she wanted to be part of it, too. Her husband, Minnesota Army National Guard Sgt. Nicholas Turcotte, who died outside of An Nasiriya, Iraq, is February.
When Tom McDonough heard about the project, he wanted to be part of it, too. His son, Minnesota National Guard Sgt. Bryan McDonough, who was killed near Camp Fallujah, Iraq, is July. The foundation Tom created for his son helped finance the and serve as a clearinghouse for orders.
Five thousand calendars were printed and are being sold for $10 each, with $8.43 going to the Bryan McDonough Military Heroes Foundation.
Pat Boyd, whose daughter and son-in-law are in the Minnesota Guard, said the calendars will continue until every Minnesota fallen soldier and Marine is honored. They’ll be sold year round.
“People are going to buy the calendar not because it’s a calendar,” she said. “It’s not a working calendar. I would never mark that calendar up. People are going to buy it because it’s something to always hold on to. People are going to buy them for what they are.”
Pat Boyd isn’t stopping with the calendar. Now she’s perfecting her skills at playing Taps on a bugle for military funerals.
She heard there was a need.