Support pours in for family of soldier |

Support pours in for family of soldier

William Ferchland

A fund has been established in the name of Phillip “Brandon” Williams, a military police officer killed in Iraq, to help pay for family and ceremony expenses.

Williams, who lived in South Lake Tahoe briefly in his younger years before moving to Gardnerville, was killed Monday by sniper fire in Baghdad. Like his father, uncle, grandfather and others in his family, he was in law enforcement, working as a military police officer.

The account is named the “Phillip Brandon Williams Memorial Account” and was established by South Lake Tahoe police officer Jeff Roberson.

“It’s just one of those things that has to get done,” said Roberson, treasurer of the South Lake Tahoe Police Officers Association.

Brandon’s father, Brad, and uncle, Brian, are 20-year veterans with the department. Brian Williams said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming, but welcomed.

“Our whole family is grateful and very humble from the support and compassion that has been poured out from the police department and every corner of the community,” Williams said. “It’s just been a tremendous comfort to us all.”

Money is needed, Williams said, for family travel expenses and general costs.

“We’re not asking for anything, that’s for sure,” Williams said. “But if people feel like they want to do something we want to give them an avenue to express themselves that way.”

The Nevada Patriot Fund, comprised of donations from Nevada corporations and individuals, is set to give the family $6,000. Nearly $300,000 has been given to Nevada families.

Brandon is the 37th pay out from the fund, spearheaded in March 2003 by Gov. Kenny Guinn. It provides non-taxable $6,000 for single soldiers and $12,000 to those with wives or children.

“It’s really a small thing … I think all it does is say people are standing beside you in your grief,” said Elaine Alexander, recording secretary for the fund.

“We’ll go for a long time then we’ll lose five in a month and if they’re all married that’s $60,000,” she added.

On Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., also a gubernatorial candidate, voiced condolences to the Williams’ family.

“We honor Private First Class Phillip Williams, and all those who have gone before him, who paid the ultimate sacrifice while fighting overseas to protect our country, so that we may not have to face our enemies here at home,” he said in a statement. “Dawn’s and my thoughts are with his family and friends as they mourn the loss of one of Nevada’s finest patriots.”

Brandon’s body is expected to be flown to Reno in the upcoming days. Law enforcement agencies from Reno to Carson City to Douglas County to South Shore are expected to accompany his body in a motorcade to Gardnerville, Brian Williams said.

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