Ten years after he died in Iraq, a military facility has been renamed for a fallen Surry County soldier.
What had been known as the National Guard Readiness Center in Winston-Salem is now called the Pfc. Adam L. Marion Readiness Center.
The facility on Silas Creek Parkway will serve as a lasting tribute for her son, Pam Marion of Mount Airy said Friday.
“That center will be there forever — not just temporarily,” she said. “It’s just an honor that they would consider doing that for Adam.”
The Marion readiness facility was dedicated during a ceremony last Sunday attended by about 150 people, including family members, friends and military personnel — notably Maj. Gen. James C. Ernst, deputy adjutant general of the N.C. National Guard.
“And it was a wonderful service,” said Pam Marion, a former clerk of court for Surry County who was accompanied by her husband Donnie at the event honoring their late son.
In addition to serving as a training center for National Guard members, with about 100 troops based there on weekends, the facility hosts events such as weddings, which Pam Marion says provides an extra level of visibility in the community.
Sunday’s event was part of an ongoing effort by the National Guard to rename readiness centers throughout North Carolina for fallen soldiers.
Adam Marion was 26 years old when he was killed on April 28, 2008, during an attack on a base near Baghdad, where he was serving in the Operation Iraqi Freedom campaign.
Marion was a 2000 graduate of Surry Central High School and had worked for Children’s Center of Surry Inc. He loved volunteering to help kids, both locally and while in Iraq.
The Mount Airy man joined the Army National Guard as a combat engineer in 2007.
He was assigned to the 171st Engineer Company of the National Guard, which is based at the armory in Winston-Salem.
Marion’s service in Iraq included operating a “Husky” vehicle to lead clearing-operation convoys for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). He is credited with saving lives by helping to detect those devices during more than 100 route-clearing missions in the Baghdad area.
In doing so, the local soldier earned the “respect and admiration of those he protected,” according to a resolution honoring Marion which was read on the floor of the N.C. General Assembly in the summer of 2008.
The Surry County serviceman was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Combat Action Badge, Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/M Device, Army Service Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal and Overseas Service Bar.
Marion, who had the words “Freedom Isn’t Free” tattooed on his biceps, was laid to rest at Piney Grove Baptist Church in Dobson, where he was a member.
In addition to having the readiness center renamed in his memory, accompanied by a large sign there, the legacy of Pvt. 1st Class Marion is perpetuated through an annual golf tournament.
“This past year we had our tenth one,” Pam Marion said Friday of the event she and her husband host in Adam’s memory to aid the Children’s Center of Surry and Yadkin. “We raised $94,000.”
“We do all we can to keep his memory alive,” the Gold Star mother said of such efforts.
“That’s one of my biggest fears — that people will forget the sacrifice Adam made.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.