Members of American Legion Post 374 in Berkley invite the public to help them celebrate the life of Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Leach on Saturday during the first SSG Leach Fall Crawl.
Proceeds from the pub crawl will benefit the SSG Matthew Leach Memorial Fund. The fund will pay for a Fallen Soldier Battle Cross monument in honor of Leach at American Legion Post 374. The reservist from Ferndale became an honorary member of Post 374 when he served as Berkley CruiseFest grand marshal in 2011. He died in June while on active duty in Afghanistan.
The pub crawl will begin at 6 p.m. at American Legion Post 374 and visit Bagger Dave's, J's Bar & Grill and VFW Post 9222 before returning to the American Legion, said Judge Advocate Dale Goodcourage of Post 374. Participants will receive a ticket at each stop to be entered in a drawing for a flat screen television.
Goodcourage said 100 people already have committed to crawling and he hopes the turnout Saturday is double that figure.
"I'm pretty excited, I'm as excited as you can be," he said.
"(Leach) was really well put together, very comfortable with himself and who he was and who his family was," Goodcourage said. "He never bad-lipped anyone. I wish we had more patriots like him."
The reservist from Ferndale died while on active duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan, leaving behind his wife Sarah and their infant son Jack. He had previously served two tours in Iraq.
The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross – a pair of boots with a helmet and an upside-down rifle – will be dedicated in Leach's honor April 20, Goodcourage said.
The project will cost approximately $14,000, he said.
The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross monument is normally made out of bronze, stands about 4 feet tall and sits on a slab of granite about 2 feet tall, Goodcourage said. He said the memorial will include a flagpole and a bench where Leach's son, who turns 1 on Nov. 28, can reflect.
Any money raised above and beyond what is needed to build the monument will be used to start a scholarship fund for Jack, Goodcourage said.
"When we're done with this, I don't plan on stopping because we need to continue raising money for those kids who've lost their parents," Goodcourage said. "They need swings, they need wagons, they need education."
If you go
- When: 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Nov. 3.
- Where: Bagger Dave's, J's Bar & Grill, VFW Post 9222 and American Legion Post 374.
- Cost: $20. The first 75 people who pay an additional $15 will receive a commemorative T-shirt.
- Why go: Enjoy hors d'oeuvres at each stop, as well as a prize and television giveaway at the final stop. You must be present to claim prizes.
- What else: Cash bar only.