JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon would have turned 26 years old on May 28, 2018. His mother will pass out cupcakes to remember him at the fifth annual memorial roping event to benefit the ASU Beck PRIDE Center for America's Wounded Veterans.
SPC. Redmon was just 21 years old when he died after suffering a traumatic brain injury.
This year, the SPC. Steven Tyler Redmon Memorial Roping event, held at the Arkansas State University Equine Center in Jonesboro, falls exactly on his birthday.
"It's different this year because it's also Steven's birthday and so we're going to be giving away free cupcakes all day," Pamela Moore, Steven's mother, said. "We're going to eat cake and we're going to celebrate big. We're hoping for a big crowd and a good time."
Her voice falters just a bit and the tears well up as she remembers the son that smiles back in dozens and dozens of photos taken from his time in service. She remembers being the age Redmon would have been now—if he would have survived.
But the annual roping event has become a way to work through grief, and a way to help other veterans who struggle just like her son did.
"It brings me a lot of joy to be able to help a veteran," Moore said. "To help with his mental counseling though we didn't have the opportunity to do that with Steven."
The event raised $4,000 last year and each year, teams come from further and further away to compete. Pamela and her husband, Darrin, have seen competitors drive from western Oklahoma and Iowa.
"It actually pays for about three months of our mental health services—is what it did last year that what we provide to veterans in our community and so it is really significant," Lynda Nash, director of the ASU Beck Pride Center said. "My husband and all four of my children are military. My youngest son had a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and so I have seen the impact personally. And then of course, with the veterans that I work with."
The struggles are real and both women can attest that providing counseling is a key component of living with PTSD.
There will be a 10 and 12 slide this year at the memorial roping event. Cost is $30 per man. Participants can enter at 9 a.m and rope at 10 a.m.