Sister of Fallen Soldier Raises Nearly $1,000 for Refugees

by | Nov 1, 2021 | Refugees & Immigrants | 3 comments

Curtis Fairless would be proud of his little sister, Angela, for raising nearly $1,000 to help resettle Afghan refugees in Oregon and Washington.

Angela held a drawing Dec. 1 for a small ruby that her brother, a former Marine, brought home from his Oregon National Guard deployment to Afghanistan. Traumatized by his war service, Curtis took his own life three years ago this month, at age 37.

In his memory, Angela asked for pledges to LCS Northwest’s Refugee Response campaign. Those who contributed were entered into a drawing for the gemstone. The winner was Lee James, who described himself as “a Vietnam era Vet looking to honor two veterans who served honorably and well and who care about other veterans and peoples of the world.”

Angela’s efforts brought in $985. Those looking to support our refugee work are still welcome to donate by clicking HERE.

“I was super pleased that the organization was open to the idea,” said Angela, who wears a ring bearing an aquamarine birthstone that Curtis picked out in Afghanistan.

She grew up with her 18-month-older brother in Seaside. Since his death in December 2018, she has reckoned with it through several worthy causes, from the Wounded Warrior project to soldier suicide prevention campaigns.

Now she has turned to refugee resettlement, which LCSNW helps coordinate in the greater Seattle-Tacoma and Portland-Vancouver areas.

To assist hundreds of displaced Afghans in starting a new life is a unifying force. It’s a plot of common ground between self-described “peace and love hippies” like Angela and heroic-minded soldiers like what Curtis set out to be at an early age.

“Captain America is the stereotype of what my brother wanted to be,” Angela said, noting his desire “to help people and not hurt people.”

After his first homecoming, the siblings took classes together at Clatsop Community College, where they sharpened their critical thinking skills and deconstructed US foreign policy. Curtis joined at least one war protest but ultimately re-upped with the military, in part because he struggled to re-enter civilian society.

Today Angela studies at Portland State University, pursuing a bachelor’s in social work with a minor in conflict resolution. Teaming with LCSNW to organize the ruby drawing and fundraiser, she said, is a “productive processing” of her pain and survivor’s guilt.

“If only we could actually be the heroes that we are conditioning young men to believe they are,” she said. “I think that properly welcoming any Afghan refugee is the least we can do.”

3 Comments

  1. Sandy Rogers

    A sad but beautiful story. Curtis would be so very proud of his sister!

  2. Victoria Kingsbury

    Your story touches us deeply. Your brother was a wonderful Person. We will give some money, but we can also offer temporary housing for a refugee. What you are doing is wonderful. I see that you are continuing the compassion that your brother had for the People that he wanted to help. I want to join you in that. Thank you for the opportunity. Feel free to contact me.

  3. Laura Ann Fairless

    You do amazing things my Angela. Curtis was & would be so proud of you & Ru.

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