On June 20, the Lightning Friends and Family Memorial Organization held a barbeque at the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade to thank the participants of the Cape Fear River Challenge.

The Cape Fear River Challenge was a 130-mile, down-river trip hosted by the 319th Military Intelligence Battalion Kayak and Canoe Club from June 15 to 17.

Over three days, participants paddled from Fayetteville to Wilmington.

“It’s great to challenge yourself and you know for us it’s just been an amazing experience. But, it’s been a great challenge and there is so much satisfaction that comes out of pushing your own personal limits,” said Lt. Col. Dylan Carlson, the 319th Military Intelligence Battalion commander.

“Our unit is slated for an upcoming deployment, and this was a great opportunity for team building and for our guys to have some shared experiences,” said Carlson.

The demanding challenge required participants to paddle for 10 to 12 hours per day, to raise money and awareness for the Lightning Memorial Project.

“The memorial would be a lasting reminder of the ultimate sacrifice members of our unit have made.  Also, it is immensely important that we do not forget the price that has been paid and what we continue to ask of our Soldiers,” Carlson added.

The Lightning Memorial Project is committed to honoring servicemembers of the 525th BfSB and the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, past and present.  This memorial project will recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who have served in the 525th BfSB.

By raising funds, the memorial will become a permanent monument displayed at the 525th BfSB headquarters in Fort Bragg, according to the memorial’s website.

The Kayak Challenge was not the first fundraiser put together by the memorial project.

Silke Edwards, an advisor for the Lightning Memorial Project, said that a CrossFit Challenge held in May raised more than $1,000.

She also said that the project still has a long way to go, but is optimistic for a Memorial Day ground breaking.

People who want to learn more about the memorial, the organization, or how to make donations can go to www.lightningmemorial.com or by writing to P.O. Box 79015, Pope Field, N.C. 28308.