Soldier injured at Fort Hood to speak at ceremony

cebaker@newsobserver.comApril 24, 2012 

  • Crime Victims Rights Week events, including tonight’s ceremony at Colonial Baptist Church at 6051 Tryon Road in Cary, are open to the public. For information, go to www.nc-van.org.

Army Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford has traveled widely telling the story of how, in November 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas, he became the victim of a violent crime.

Lunsford was shot five times and blinded in one eye during the massacre at Fort Hood that took the lives of 13 people – 12 soldiers and one civilian – and wounded 31 others. Tonight, Lunsford will speak at the N.C. Crime Victims’ Rights ceremony in Cary, part of the annual Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The ceremony, at Colonial Baptist Church, is an opportunity to honor and remember victims of violent crimes, said Elizabeth Wexler, who works for the N.C. Victim Assistance Network. A memorial DVD that will be shown at the ceremony will include photos of crime victims, Wexler said.

Lunsford, who was raised in Rockingham and now lives at Fort Bragg, attended the crime victims’ ceremony for the first time last year. In addition to being the survivor of a violent crime, Lunsford is also part of the Wounded Warriors unit at Fort Bragg and a member of the national Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that tells the stories of injured soldiers.

Lunsford said his message stresses public service and patriotism. He said he wants to remind everyone, especially young people, that soldiers, police officers, firefighters, and others in uniform care about the well-being of the country and its citizens, and to encourage young people to take advantage of opportunities to serve, because “not having is no excuse for not giving.”

Crime Victims’ Rights Week continues Wednesday with a ceremony at the Crime Victim Memorial Garden at East Lane and Wilmington streets in downtown Raleigh. The speaker will be Effie Steele of Durham, whose daughter was shot to death in 2007 when she was nine months pregnant.

Steele was shocked at the time to learn that the man charged with killing her daughter was not also charged with killing her unborn grandson. That led her to join the push for a bill that became law last year that allows prosecutors to charge someone who attacks a pregnant woman with killing or assaulting their unborn child.

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