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Gold Star family helps veterans after losing son in Afghanistan

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Gretchen Catherwood holds the flag that draped the casket of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alec Catherwood, in Springville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. In 2010, Alec, 19, was killed in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. When he was alive, she loved to touch his face. He had baby soft skin and when she put her hands on his cheeks, this big tough Marine felt like her little boy. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

Gretchen Catherwood holds the flag that draped the casket of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alec Catherwood, in Springville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. In 2010, Alec, 19, was killed in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. When he was alive, she loved to touch his face. He had baby soft skin and when she put her hands on his cheeks, this big tough Marine felt like her little boy. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

Gretchen Catherwood holds the flag that draped the casket of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alec Catherwood, in Springville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:26 AM PT – Sunday, September 19, 2021

A Gold Star family is helping veterans after losing their son in Afghanistan over a decade ago. The family said they were searching for ways to honor their fallen son who so desperately wanted to help.

“It was important to him to go, for the reasons you know, that he stated. He wanted to help little girls go to school,” said Gold Star mother Gretchen Catherwood of her son. “He wanted to help the country that didn’t have the freedoms that we do.”

In October 2010, Lance Cpl. Alec E. Catherwood was killed by an explosive while serving in Afghanistan when he was just 19-years-old. Those who knew him said he was the Marine always looking to be friends with the underdogs. Now, his mother says their goal is to honor their son’s memory by helping veterans.

“I can no longer do for my son, but I can do for the sons and daughters of other mothers,” said Catherwood.

Gretchen and Kirk Catherwood stand outside one of the rooms inside the Darkhorse Lodge in Springville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. They hope to open next summer and offer free stays for any combat veteran from any war or branch of the military who might benefit from time in the woods. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

Gretchen and Kirk Catherwood stand outside one of the rooms inside the Darkhorse Lodge in Springville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. They hope to open next summer and offer free stays for any combat veteran from any war or branch of the military who might benefit from time in the woods. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

She said that a specific veteran statistic caught her and her husband’s eyes, which was that about two dozen veterans take their own lives each day, including eight Marines from their son’s regiment. The Gold Star family is now building a sanctuary called the “Darkhorse Lodge” where combat veterans can help each other heal and enjoy nature.

While many are still caught up questioning the war and how it ended, the Catherwoods are more worried about the effects it will leave on those who served. The Gold Star mother said they need to hold their heads up high because they definitely weren’t there for nothing.

MORE NEWS: Additional U.S. Citizens Evacuated From Afghanistan

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