Marine families gather in honor of fallen member
JEFFERSON CITY – Friends and members of the Marine community gathered on Saturday in honor of Sergeant Talon R. Leach.
Leach was a U.S. Marine from Callaway County who died in a plane crash in Mississippi on July 10. Rhonda Riney and Carla Michelle, both mothers of Marines, organized the benefit dinner.
“I just wanted to show support to a fellow Marine mom who lost her son,” Riney said.
She did not know Sgt. Leach; however, Riney said she still felt the pain.
“It hit close to home,” Riney said.
Michelle had similar feelings toward Leach. She did not know Leach personally, but she did know his mother. Despite not knowing Leach, she said she still felt a loss.
“I feel like Talon is my son,” Michelle said. “Once a Marine, always a Marine. Once you’re a Marine mom, you’re a Marine mom to all of the Marines.”
The event featured a chicken dinner, raffle tickets, T-Shirts and an auction table. One of the auction items was a book signed and donated by Governor Eric Greitens. A few others were homemade quilts. All of the proceeds will go to the parents of Sgt. Leach.
“I do printing on the side, so I did all of the T-Shirts for the benefit and helped [Riney] out with finding silent auction items and things like that,” Michelle said.
Michelle said her goal was to help Leach’s mother, Lisa, with anything she needed, including giving comfort.
“We are here for her,” Michelle said.
When asked about her thoughts on the number of people who showed up, Riney said it was “absolutely incredible.”
“The support that I have been shown [for the benefit] is overwhelming,” Riney said.
The benefit began at 4 p.m. on Saturday at American Legion Post 5 in Jefferson City and ran until 8 p.m.