FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A Gold Star mother is asking why after learning three Elm trees honoring fallen soldiers, one being her son, were destroyed Wednesday.
The trees were planted last Memorial Day at Memorial Grove in North Park to honor the three soldiers who died in the line of duty.
Jo-Ann Mello, the mother of Army Specialist Scott Andrews, said she’s disheartened by what she calls a senseless act.
“It’s just sad, I just don’t know what gets into the minds of people to do something like this,” Mello said.
Andrews was killed in Afghanistan by an enemy improvised explosive in June 2010. One of those Elm trees was planted in his memory.
His tree, along with the other two trees honoring Army National Guard Sergeant Robert Barrett, who died by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in April 2010, and Army Pvt. Michael Bouthot, who died in April 2006 while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom, were all found snapped into pieces with their splintered fragments littering the ground around the memorial.
Mello said police believe the vandalism may have been the work of teenagers. If this is true, she said she hopes they stop and think twice about their actions.
“I’d like to think that 10 years from now they’re going to look back and say, ‘I did a really bad thing, something I feel very bad about,'” she said.
Mello said on Memorial Day, the community will not only plant three more trees, they’ll also add a fourth tree to honor Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond, who died after an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit’s vehicle in the Ghanzi Province.