NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — With a donation from a local hair salon chain, a local foundation that built a playground in honor of a fallen Marine is getting ready to add new honors to other fallen heroes.
LCpl. Matthew Rodriguez of Fairhaven was killed in 2013 while serving in Afghanistan. A playground bearing his name has stood on Airport Road in New Bedford since its dedication in May 2014. In fact, the playground had been in the works before his death — a project of the Atlantic Aviators, a group of local women enthusiastic about flying — and Rodriguez even helped design it before he went to Afghanistan.
After its completion, the garden was dedicated to his memory and certain memorial aspects added — fencing and garden planters. Other amenities like picnic tables were also added, with small plaques noting that they were dedicated to other fallen veterans.
Rodriguez’s mother Lisa is now launching a new project to install plaques around the state honoring other local fallen veterans who’ve been killed since September 11, 2001. The donation presented Thursday, $500 from Great Clips, will help fund that.
“We want to take it across the state,” Lisa Rodriguez said. “Whether it’s at a park or an airport, or a playground,” the plaques will be dedicated to local service members.