FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montgomery County, TX (March 11, 2015) –Shane and Kandas Rodarte, of ShaKa Studios Custom Furniture in New Waverly, are small business owners on a mission to serve the families of Fallen Heroes by contributing handmade chests for the 2nd Annual Texas Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Motorcycle Ride, May 15-17, 2015 during Armed Forces Week.
Sixteen Fallen soldiers from the Dallas/Metro area will be honored with cherry heirloom memorial chests presented to the families. Hopefully the chests will be completed for the upcoming Dallas ride. Funding for the chests is $19,200 and is the largest challenge.
The Rodartes were contacted by Warren Williamson, director of Tribute to Fallen Soldiers NW to build the Memorial Chests. The Tribute to Fallen Soldiers NW is an organization of veterans that ride their motorcycles each year to honor and pay tribute to fallen soldiers by visiting the homes of the families. Started in 2010, Fallen Soldier Home Visits presents each family with a plaque of Distinguished Service and special acknowledgement for the soldier they are honoring. The rides are escorted by law enforcement, and military vehicles. Last year the organization expanded to include a Texas Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Ride.
Memorial chests are 36x20x20 solid cherry wood boxes that hold the personal affects of a fallen soldier, airman, marine, sailor, firefighter, or law enforcement official that has served for our protection and freedom. Similar to the footlockers the soldiers had in bootcamp, the chests will hold the flag, uniform, medals, and other gear preserved for generations to come. The front panel is engraved with their name, insignia, and area where they served last. The cost to build each chest is $1200. A Fallen Hero Memorial Chest Fund has been organized with all contributions for this campaign through www.MemorialChestFund.org.
Shane, son of a Texas born migrant farm worker, has been a full time professional furniture maker for close to 30 years. He has already completed memorial chests for the families of Army Specialist Mabry James Anders, Corporal Tyler S. Trovillion, 2nd Lieutenant Peter H Burks, and Sergeant 1st Class Raymond J. Munden.
“We are participating in this so that the families know that their loss was not in vain”, said Shane Rodarte. “It is a small price to pay to honor our soldiers who died for our freedom”.
The Rodartes take great pride in the quality of the products they make and want all chests to be made consistently. As they expand they are hoping to fine tune the building process for ease of replication and to allow others to participate in the campaign. This would also help to defray the costs and serve more families. The 12 month goal is to produce and deliver 50 chests free of charge. The 3 year goal is 300 memorial chests.
Contributions to the campaign are needed to complete the chests before the May deadline. A corporate sponsorship of $1200 allows one chest to be made for a family. Corporate sponsors receive the name and photograph of the hero they are honoring, photos of the fallen hero chest, a social media mention, a podcast interview, and a public announcement. The project is set up in a crowd-funding account that incurs fees based on successful results. Each $100 contribution to the Fallen Hero Memorial Chest Fund, receives an entry to win a beautiful solid cherry extension table with a painted base valued at $1350. The table measures 30″H x 42″L x 36″W or 57.5″L with leaf. It comfortably seats 6 people. If you win, you will be allowed to choose the finish!
The community is encouraged to contribute in kind gifts of lumber, materials, delivery costs, and free booth spaces at festivals to lower the costs. Sharing via Social Media is also helpful. Information can be found on www.Facebook.com/ShakaStudios, www.Twitter.com/ShakaStudios and blog.shakastudios.com/tag/memorial-chest-for-fallen-soldier
Kandas Rodarte, the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, derives her passion from her father who retired after 40 years of service to the Department of the Army. Kandas is an entrepreneur in her own business as well – encouraging small business owners to be part of her weekly podcasts and to grow their business through relationship marketing. Gratitude Geek is the podcast that interviews sales professionals and business owners that are striving to make their passion generate income. All podcasts and videos may be viewed at www.GratitudeGeek.info Kandas launched the campaign for the Fallen Hero Memorial Chest Fund while undergoing treatment for aggressive breast cancer. She was diagnosed in April 2014 and has 4 years of treatment left between medication and chemotherapy.
“Our heroes need to be remembered. What a great tribute to those that lost their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice”, said Rodarte. “If we do not meet our goal for 16 chests, we will make what we can”.