Fallen Heroes Remembered

We have a master wood craftsman and a kind, thoughtful man in our midst, David Bouillez. He is a Key Grip/Gaffer in the film business, but loves to work with wood and be creative during his down time. What makes David’s talent all the more special is his poignant, tangible way of expressing his appreciation and sympathy to the families of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and fellow citizens – The Memory Box.

David Bouillez

Courtesy photo
David Bouillez

The inspiration for the Memory Boxes came after a somber evening TV news report on the casualties in the war in Afghanistan. He wanted to do something for the grieving families. This prompted his idea to use his woodworking skills to create keepsake boxes for the families who have lost a loved one, killed in action in the current Gulf Wars.
David’s childhood friend, Natalie Probert Kurtz says, “David is one of the finest. I’m proud of his talent. I’ve sponsored a few Memory Boxes and I hope others can find the means to donate to this fine cause. It brings some closure to families as they go through the healing process.” Many of the presentations have been unexpected, poignant gestures to commemorate a special occasion such as a birthday, wedding, anniversary or holiday. “When I get a call or a thank-you note from a family, it’s such a great feeling to know I’m doing something for someone and that they really appreciate it,” says David.
The Memory Box Project currently has more than 1,000 requests and has shipped 250 boxes nationwide. The cost to sponsor a Memory Box is currently $375 to cover materials and shipping. Donations in any amount are appreciated to meet the growing demand.
Memory Box Travis Layfield

Courtesy photo
Memory Box honoring Travis Layfield

Each solid cherrywood Memory Box is handcrafted and machine engraved with the name, rank, branch of service and dates of birth and passing of the Fallen Soldier. The brilliant pewter handles are made by Notting Hill Decorative Hardware in Wisconsin who is donating handles for 30 Memory Boxes; replicating the Iris flower; symbolizing the meeting of heaven and earth.
Through the gift of a Memory Box, many Gold Star Families have been comforted through the life-long healing process. Gold Star Mother Dianne Layfield describes the Memory Box in honor of her son Travis by saying, “I’m in awe of its beauty and craftsmanship. Just a stunning piece I will forever cherish. What a blessing. Thank you with all my heart.” She adorned the inside of Travis’ Memory Box with a piece of his uniform. The Memory Box was sponsored by another Gold Star Mother who lost a son and had received a Memory Box.
Emma was only a baby, 13 months old, when her father was killed in action 10 years ago.  But through her mother’s eyes she has learned the value of keeping her father’s memory alive.  She follows along with whatever charitable task that her mother takes on; always helping with a smile on her face. One of Emma’s favorite things to do is honor her father by doing nice things for others.
Memory Box EMMA

Courtesy photo
Emma has the learned the value of keeping her father’s memory alive.

Emma’s mother says, “She is very active in helping veterans and volunteers with “TAPS”-Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. She painted a picture of an angel watching over the headstones of seven soldiers that were killed in action in Iraq, one being her Father’s. The painting was auctioned off at a charity event to help raise funds. She is just an amazing little girl!”
Fallen Soldier Memorabilia Boxes, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit Corporation EIN: 46-2166640, relies on donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. To commemorate this Memorial Day, join David in showing your gratitude by donating or fully sponsoring one or more Memory Boxes. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Fallen Soldier Memorabilia Boxes, Inc., 179 Niblick Rd., #439, Paso Robles, CA 93446 or online at memoryboxproject.org, and click “donate.”
To host a fundraising event or help in any way, contact David at 805-221-5087 (Shop) or 415-806-9064 (Cell) or Pat at 805-239-1372. Email contact@memoryboxproject.org. Memory Boxes are also available by sponsorship, for all service members from all wars, as well as Fallen Fire Fighters, Peace Officers and First Responders. They make special gifts that are meant to be passed down from generation to generation.

The Memory Box Poem

How does one choose what it will hold? For future stories to be told?
A letter, a ribbon, a picture or two? How do I choose the memory of you?
You were so brave – right to the end. You weren’t just a soldier. You were my best friend.
There’s so much to tell of the life you had. Your courage and strength-so much could be said.
To honor your memory is easy to do. I place inside here sweet memories of you.
Your legacy lives on for others to see. A medal, a letter? Inside it will be.
How does one choose what this box will hold – for future stories to be told?

~ Written by the proud mother of Fallen Soldier
SGT Amanda Older-Downing
May 30, 1986 – January 11, 2011